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Tajikistan's Largest Property Developer To Stand Trial

Movarounnahr Chairman Jurabek Okhunov

Movarounnahr Chairman Jurabek Okhunov

DUSHANBE -- A criminal investigation into Tajikistan's largest private real-estate developer has been sent to the Supreme Court for consideration, a justice has confirmed to RFE/RL's Tajik Service, suggesting a trial is imminent in the case.

Supreme Court Judge Shavkat Abdulkhayrov declined any further comment on the case.

Lawyer Shuhrat Qudratov told RFE/RL on July 27 that his client, real-estate development company Movarounnahr's chairman, Jurabek Okhunov, is accused only of selling the same apartment to several people.

Qudratov said the Tajik anticorruption agency conducted an investigation into Movarounnahr's activities last month but found no evidence of illegal dealings by either the company or Okhunov.

Abdulkhayrov said the Movarounnahr case is complicated as there are some 600 Movarounnahr customers who made payments on homes that have not yet been completed and are awaiting a resolution of the case against Okhunov.

Almost all of those clients want Okhunov released from detention so he can compensate their losses or arrange for the completion of their houses and apartments.

Muhammadnazar Rahmatshoev, who heads an informal committee representing the interests of Movarounnahr customers who lost their money, said on July 27 that those clients have asked for Okhunov to be released.

He quoted the Prosecutor-General's Office as saying that even though Okhunov is under arrest, his company can continue to operate and complete any unfinished construction projects.

Okhunov was arrested in November. Prosecutors immediately confiscated the company's seal and froze its bank accounts.

Movarounnahr accountant Bobo Nasimov said that for the past nine months the company has been unable to function. He said it has been impossible even to pay employees' salaries since the company's bank accounts were frozen.

Nasimov said the company has received complaints from some 680 customers, 20 percent of whom have already taken possession of their apartments but have not been given the ownership deeds because the company seal was confiscated.

Movarounnahr officials admit the company owes some 13 million somonis ($2.75 million) to banks and a further 2.5 million somonis to its customers.