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Former Uzbek Security Official Involved In Karimova Investigations Arrested

  • RFE/RL's Uzbek Service

Gulnara Karimova, once considered a potential successor to her father, President Islam Karimov, was embroiled in a corruption scandal that led to the dismantling of her business empire in 2014.

Gulnara Karimova, once considered a potential successor to her father, President Islam Karimov, was embroiled in a corruption scandal that led to the dismantling of her business empire in 2014.

TASHKENT -- A former top Uzbek security official, who in his position oversaw corruption investigations into the activities of presidential daughter Gulnara Karimova, has been arrested.

The arrest of General Hayot Sharifhojaev, former first deputy of the National Security Service, is the latest incident in which an official affiliated with Karimova's case has come under legal scrutiny.

It is unclear whether the moves, however, are directly related to the Karimova case.

RFE/RL learned on July 20 that General Sharifhojaev was arrested last week on corruption and embezzlement charges. A National Security Service official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the 52-year-old Sharifhojaev was being held in Tashkent's Gvardeisky prison.

In April, Sharifhojaev was dismissed from his first deputy post and demoted to a position as a lecturer at the National Security Service School in Tashkent.

The Security Service source told RFE/RL in May that Sharifhojaev and two other security officials -- Sharifhojaev's brother and nephew -- were selling properties confiscated from suspects in different cases, including that of Karimova and her associates.

Hayot Sharifhojaev

Hayot Sharifhojaev

Karimova, once considered a potential successor to her father, President Islam Karimov, was embroiled in a corruption scandal that led to the dismantling of her business empire in 2014.

She has since been under house arrest and continues to be investigated on corruption and other charges.

Sharifhojaev's nephew, Jahangir Ghulomov, who was responsible for confiscating Karimova's assets in his capacity as chief of the Justice Ministry department, was charged with corruption in April after he was detained in Kazakhstan and extradited to Uzbekistan.

Several months ago, Sharifhojaev's younger brother, Javdat Sharifhojaev, a former senior officer with the National Security Service, was found guilty of corruption and abuse of power and sentenced to four years in prison.

Sources at the National Security Service told RFE/RL on July 20 that Javdat Sharifhojaev's prison term was extended by another four years earlier in July. No details on that case were provided.

The investigation into Karimova's business activities led to the closure of her media empire in Uzbekistan, including several television channels, and the seizure of Tashkent boutiques believed to belong to her or her business partners.

In July 2014, Uzbek authorities handed down prison terms to several alleged associates of Karimova after finding them guilty of financial crimes.

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