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Uzbekistan launches new probe against ex-leader's daughter

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Uzbekistan launches new probe against ex-leader's daughter
FILE PHOTO: Gulnara Karimova (C), daughter of Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov, attends an Independence Day celebration in Tashkent August 31, 2012. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/File Photo   -   Copyright  Shamil Zhumatov(Reuters)
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TASHKENT (Reuters) – Uzbek prosecutors have launched a fresh criminal case against Gulnara Karimova, an already imprisoned daughter of late president Islam Karimov, over allegations of illegal privatisation, the Prosecutor General’s office said on Monday.

Karimova, 47, was jailed in March this year for violating the terms of her house arrest after receiving a five-year sentence in 2015 on charges of embezzlement and extortion.

On Monday, the prosecutor’s office said its investigation indicated Karimova had illegally bought two cement plants from the state which she then sold to foreign businessmen.

In a statement it said Karimova had also forced owners of several companies to hand them over to her under threats of violence.

The statement could indicate that Karimova is likely to remain in prison for the near future despite her public call for clemency – Karimova’s daughter published a letter on her behalf in June saying she needed surgery for unspecified reasons.

Karimova’s Swiss lawyer Gregoire Mangeat has said he found her suffering from high blood pressure and a bandaged leg in June and could not meet Karimova in prison in July because she was taken away in an ambulance.

Karimova’s father, Islam Karimov, ran Central Asia’s most populous nation from 1989 until his death in 2016. Once a successful businesswoman and pop singer performing under the stage name Googoosha, Karimova disappeared from public view after falling out with her father in 2014.

Uzbek prosecutors have said they were trying to seize more than $1.5 billion in Karimova’s foreign assets including luxury properties.

(Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov, Editing by William Maclean)

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