Tuesday, September 02, 2014


Uzbekistan

Gulnara: Groomed For Greater Things?

Uzbekistan's first daughter Gulnara Karimova can tweet, sing, stretch, style, and oversee her family's massive fortune. But can she rule the country?
Uzbekistan's first daughter Gulnara Karimova can tweet, sing, stretch, style, and oversee her family's massive fortune. But can she rule the country?

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Swedish TV: How Millions In Telecoms Bribes End Up In Karimova's Pocket

An investigative program airing in Sweden offers evidence of how executives in Uzbekistan negotiated millions of dollars in suspected bribes on behalf of the presidential daughter, Gulnara Karimova.
By Daisy Sindelar
Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, is adept at skirting pointed questions.

She's repeatedly stalled on a public promise to address her country's abysmal rights record. And December 20, during a tightly orchestrated press conference in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, she played coy when asked if she was mulling an eventual run for the presidency.

"If you want to make God laugh, tell him what you're going to do five minutes from now," she replied, repeating an Uzbek variation on "never say never."

It's not the first time the 40-year-old Karimova's been suggested as a likely successor to her autocratic father. The country's first and only president is rumored to be in poor health, leading to speculation that he may finally vacate the post he has held for more than two decades when the country next holds elections in 2015.

But whether the notoriously opaque Uzbekistan is headed for a Karimov-Karimova handover is virtually unknowable.

"That's the $64 million question that nobody knows the answer to," says Steve Swerdlow, a Central Asia researcher with Human Rights Watch. "It's like reading tea leaves, and I think that if President Karimov has shown anything in the last 22 to 23 years of his rule, he's shown that he plays the cards close to the vest, and we probably won't know the answer to that question until the absolute last moment."

Keeping It In The Family

As far back as 2009, a U.S. diplomatic cable later published by WikiLeaks cited a high-ranking presidential associate as saying "some members" of Karimov's circle believed his daughter -- better known as an intermittent diplomat, fashion designer, and pop chanteuse -- was being groomed for succession.

Such a move would be fully in keeping with dynastic traditions that have populated governments across Central Asia since the Soviet collapse.

Uzbek President Islam KarimovUzbek President Islam Karimov
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Uzbek President Islam Karimov
Uzbek President Islam Karimov
It might also be the most effective way for Karimov -- who has used what the UN calls "widespread and systematic torture" to silence thousands of opponents over the course of his infamous rule -- to protect himself from violent retribution once he steps down.

Ajdar Kurtov, a Central Asia analyst with the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, says Karimov's reputation for ruthlessness -- solidified by the brutal Andijon massacre in 2005 -- has kept the political elite in line for years. But he says it's far from likely that Karimov's associates will ultimately endorse a father-to-daughter succession.

"Gulnara Karimova doesn't possess the same qualities that her father has. And Karimov's inner circle understands that perfectly well," he says. "So right now, they may hold their tongues about their preferences. But when the question comes to a head -- especially if something happens with Karimov -- I think the majority of them will be opposed to the idea of the daughter becoming the next president."

The Gulnara Cult

Karimova -- who alternately goes by the nicknames Guli and Googoosha -- has become an object of bemused fascination, thanks in large part to her movie-star looks, cultural pursuits like a recent duet with Gerard Depardieu, and enthusiasm for chronicling her life on the Internet.

The Russian search engine Yandex recently announced that Karimova had outpaced her father as the most-searched Uzbek name on the web -- the reward, perhaps, for her Twitter posts, often written in breathless, occasionally petulant tones reminiscent of headstrong adolescents.

In a December 21 tweet to Andrew Stroehlein of the International Crisis Group, she said she had not had time to address Uzbekistan's human rights abuses because she had a "thousand things at work."

Tinatin Tsertsvadze, a Brussels-based analyst with the FRIDE think tank, says Karimova seems unaware of, or impervious to, the pressures of relatability felt by ordinary politicians in the West and even elsewhere in the former Soviet space.

"I don't think she thinks in the same terms that the rest of us do," she says. "I think she's someone who has very high self-esteem. If you follow her Twitter account, she's posting pictures of herself doing yoga postures. It's all about her and how glamorous she is."

Ill-Gotten Gains?

Karimova, the elder of Karimov's two daughters, has had only a flirting acquaintance with politics, having served in a series of prominent but undemanding diplomatic posts, including as Uzbekistan's Geneva-based permanent representative to the United Nations.

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She is widely seen, however, as the driving force behind her family's massive private fortune, which is estimated in the billions.

Karimova is frequently described as a "robber baron" who has used her station to aggressively demand bribes from foreign businesses looking to enter the Uzbek market and strip assets from those who have already made it in.

Her financial activity has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months, as prosecutors in Switzerland and Sweden investigate massive money-laundering claims tied to Karimova's direct associates.

A recent report on Swedish TV cited eyewitness accounts of how Karimova used a front man to demand hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes from a mobile-phone company trying to obtain Uzbek licensing.

Gulnara's Choice

Karimova has denied any wrongdoing. But the investigations -- paired with growing opposition to Uzbekistan's use of child labor in its massive cotton industry and the country's horrific record on human rights -- have pushed Karimova out of her traditional comfort zone as a moneyed European socialite with homes in Geneva, Paris, and Moscow.

In recent months, she has remained largely inside Uzbekistan, promoting yoga, launching perfume lines, writing movie scripts, and trumpeting the achievements of her Fund Forum charity.

Busy schedule aside, Karimova's protracted stay in Uzbekistan may not be her preference.

Uzbekistan, the most populous Central Asian nation with 30 million people, is also one of its poorest. Karimova, who betrays little apprehension about showing off her wealth, is frequently referred to as the country's "most hated person." (Karimova argues the phrase was concocted by foreign PR forces.)

But popularity may have little to do with whether the first daughter ultimately becomes president in Uzbekistan, a country where elections regularly deliver 90 percent returns for the entrenched Karimov.

Swerdlow says Karimova, well-traveled and multilingual, may still be the least bad option for those searching for a way to open Uzbek society.
 
Her presidential ambitions may remain a mystery, he says. But the fact that she's communicating with the outside world has already shed a small sliver of light on a famously isolated country -- and could possibly be exposing her to new information as well.

"What's interesting about that is that it's such a departure from what the rest of Uzbek officials do, which is stay quiet," Swerdlow says. "And, of course, most of them don't have the sort of privileged position vis-a-vis the ultimate leader as Gulnara Karimova. So she has a unique position, she's able to speak, and we're certainly in favor of being able to speak with her and the Uzbek government directly.

"Someone that does travel the world and holds this post at the UN very likely is exposed to a lot of information," he adds. "If she chooses to be."

Daisy Sindelar

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gregory Allen Leeds from: Lewes, Delaware, USA
December 24, 2012 04:50
This systematic exchange of position with her father would most likley be adressed as North Korean in nature (which is now basicly ruled by something ressembeling Chas Bono) and leaving the heirarchy complete around the power base to contunue the oppression, obscure the corrupt practices that enslave that nation and most worst, continue the family planning that also encomposses sterilization of select groups of Uzbek woman, many tied to alleged insurgents, that continue to be reported in Afghanistan and Pakistan, thus feeding the paraniod Taliban into killing medical aid and polio workers out trying to stop that disease from putting over three million Pakistani's at risk. Time to assign the blame for these aid workers death's to the correct parties, not CIA or SEAL Team Six.

by: Sal from: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
December 25, 2012 01:00
I think the political elite in Uzbekistan will not have the mentality to accept a female leader so even if she succeeds her brutal father, not before long she might be overthrown from within or outside in one way or another. The sad part, as noted in this article, is that she might be the best of the two worst choices for an eventual transition of the country to an more open society. But like anything else in Uzbek politics, you have to watch the film till the end to know what will the final outcome be like.

by: Aftab Kazi from: Washington DC
December 25, 2012 15:10
Anti-Karimov bias in West will likely continue indefinitely. On the one hand, we satisfactorily support Saudi and like wise monarchs, on the other, we hate and create stereotype democratic leaders like President Islam Karimov. His only fault is that he does not accept democracy model of the West, instead is following his own model. It is false to say that he wins 90 percent elections. In the last elections his party won only 35 percent of seats, and he stayed in power through coalitions with other parties. He and his colleagues simply do not believe in the democracy models imposed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Contrary to Western perceptions, President Islam Karimov and his family remain very popular in Uzbekistan. It is just the Eastern culture and political behavior that Westerners either fail to understand or pretend not to understand. As such, rather several incorroborated exaggerated stories about human rights violations are being cited repeatedly without paying any attention to legal and political reform that the Republic of Uzbekistan has had been undergoing gradually over the last 20 years or so. Should Gulnara Karomova ultimately replaces her father as president, what is wrong? Our friends Saudis and Gulf Arabs always do that. At least, Uzbekistan holds elections regularly, with constant OSCE exaggerations, without even sending observers to main polling stations. Every time I have observed elections in Uzbekistan, I have brought back with me the photo copies of the polling station register, which every electoral observer must sign. OSCE observers will be found absent at most main polling stations. It is just that the government of Uzbekistan is acting independently, which we in West do not like. Of course, Ms. Gulnara Karimova is a multi-talented person and I agree with her that nothing can be ruled out. Ultimately, our analysts in West will realize that how seriously their analyses are damaging the image of the West in Eurasia.
In Response

by: Sal from: Colorado Springs, CO
December 25, 2012 19:01
Aftab Kazi, what side of the moon did you fall of off? "His (Karimov) only fault is that he does not accept democracy model of the West, instead is following his own model..." Karimov doesn't accept ANY type of democracy, how about that??!? And he does not follow any model to speak of. The only thing that he and his cronies follow is a life of crime, bullying and murder. There is no democracy in Uzbekistan and there won't be until people rise up and take the regime's power by force. And one of those days is not far if what's happening in the Middle East is of any indication. Give a monkey millions of dollars worth of stolen wealth and it will turn into a "multi-talented person...". The only reason why Karimovs might be even close to being popular in Uzbekistan is because for the last 20+ years of independence there has been a new generation of youth that has not seen any political alternative to the current regime that controls every minuscule aspect of life in the country - you tell me about brainwash?!? So your attempt at bs'ing your point of view and creating a smokescreen at the perceived "reforms" in Uzbekistan might work for an uneducated reader on a different online platform but not on this site. I think you got on the wrong train my friend. There is alot more of informed and educated readers here than you think. Nice try though.
In Response

by: Aftab Kazi from: Washington DC
December 26, 2012 10:22
Gentleman, it is easy to comment sitting comfortably from Colorado Springs than understanding East, and it's sociopolitical ethos. You folks create your own questions and answer them simultaneously to the heart's desire. So, keep doing it. Uzbekistan is already advancing under its currently popular leadership, while people with fagued perceptions continue keep wondering. Understand? .
In Response

by: Sal from: Colorado Springs, CO
December 27, 2012 15:40
"Uzbekistan is already advancing under its currently popular leadership..." I seriously think that you have a conscious problem with truth so I won't try to beat it into your thick skull...obviously, you must be one of Uzbek regime's agents that takes his misinformation and propaganda online or you are just brainwashed enough that you don't even differentiate from right to left. Either case, there is no point in making a point with you. Luckily, the world notices that Uzbekistan ranks as one of the lowest in its corruption standing for many years in a row, that the regime is brutal in its suppression of dissent (Andijan) and has zero tolerance for anything that says "free", that Uzbek citizens freeze themselves every winter, that thousands of children as young as five perform backbreaking slave labor in cotton fields to enrich few, that millions of Uzbeks decided to leave their home country in search of a better life...(I won't bore you with a long list as you already know all this). You arrogantly perceive that I don't understand the East but it doesn't change the facts. And stop using Google Translate, understand?
In Response

by: Aftab Kazi from: Washington DC
December 28, 2012 04:52
During 1999, while at the University of Leipzig, a professor who visited Uzbekistan once, told me that I cannot understand the Uzbek behavior, they will say one thing and mean other. I also heard similar comments from some of my American compatriots. Originating from a similar culture, I never have problems understanding Central Asian cultural traits. You are suffering from this problem. Teenagers working in cotton fields is a cultural matter. Ask Uzbek parents, how they perceive this issue. You talk about Andijon, but forget the fact that some fundamentalists first attacked the governmental installation, broke up the prison and rudely compelled jailed prisoners and jail officers to march in the town center, where they committed more deaths. In the garb of human rights, we criticize the Uzbek government action, but ignore the treatment we ourselves give to terrorists. Moreover, none of the figures by human rights organizations corroborate with each other, while scholarly works on the subject by Dr. Shirin Akiner, Dr. John Daly, and even by late Abdul Manon Polat, an opposition member (His work commissioned by the Jamestown Foundation) could not satisfy your personal self ignorance. I am a scholar with specialization in several fields related to Central and South Asia. Obviously, like some others I have come across, you belong the the paid propagandists who survive on ill-earned income. I will no more be commenting on your hypocrite ignorant narratives. Continue throwing everything ugly on popular leaders of Central Asia, which are developing and growing in their own Eastern ways.
In Response

by: Frank from: London
December 28, 2012 10:45
Karimov is an authoritarian kleptocrat ( he has to have his rivals and opponents tortured, locked up or bought off (the poor human rights record is testament to that). In some cases when businesses refuse to be valued at the compulsorily heavily discounted buy-out price he wants to acquire them for, he uses hostage taking to get what he wants. The judiciary is corrupt. The case of the Tajik metallurgist, Saeed Ashurov, sentenced to 12 years on “spying” charges is a case in point. (He worked for Oxus Gold and was probably the only non-Uzbek employee left in the country when Oxus declared Force Majeur and indicated it was going to put in a $400m international arbitration claim against the Uzbek Govt. instead of acquiescing to Islam Karimov’s wishes to hand over its Amantaytau gold mine for peanuts. (Hostage taking is normal for the region viz. Iran).

Thefts such as this leave you vulnerable to rivals exposing you and confiscating your wealth. That is, you have to get your ill gotten gains out of the country, hence the leadership's voracious appetite for foreign exchange (which also explains its incredible preoccupation with all forex transactions, even of small businesses, so much so that all Uzbeks have to export anything that can earn FX through someone with a licence (usually someone who is beholden to the FX “feed chain” all the way up to the top: you get the official exchange rate while someone else in the chain pockets the difference between the market rate and the official rate?). It is no surprise Gulnara is in the jewellery business: jewels unlike forex purchases omit the Central Bank Governor from the information loop when transporting the proceeds of business theft out of the country, a task made easier by Gulnara's diplomatic status. And there is no danger of her getting fat biceps carrying jewels, as there would be with gold bars.

We don’t know how popular Karimov would be without press censorship. it is possible he could end up like the Ceaucescus . The author of that confidential assessment from the US embassy in Tashkent that described Gulnara as “the most hated person in the country” did not know his opinions were going to be revealed by Wikileaks, so it was probably an honest assessment. The combination of monstrous business thefts and publicity for charity work that helps cover up the former perhaps does inspire contempt. No amount of “Western bias” can induce that sort of widespread hatred.

If you want to maintain the view that the Karimov family is the one exception to the rule that absolute power corrupts and that it is just a matter of “Western bias”, then I ask you to explain

a)the source of the Karimov wealth b) the U.S. embassy’s assessment of Gulnara Karimova c) the assessment of Haroon Choudry (a businessman who brought forex to Uzbekistan by operating a travel agency for wealthy Pakistanis wanting to holiday in Uzbekistan, and his subsequent 124 day unlawful detention at the hands of the SNB until his business was expropriated/destroyed. d) why Uzbekistan is the joint fifth most corrupt country in the world (Source: Transparency International 2011) e) why the man in the video below talks about Gulanara’s wealth arising due to “State opportunities [to make money] being converted into private ones” f) why you think the Russians seized Gulnara’s flat as soon as the Uzbek state seized the assets of the Russian mobile phone operator MTS (Uzdonrobita). g) why adult agricultural labourers can't properly exploit their scarcity value in relation to the amount of work that needs to be done in gathering in the crop of "white gold" (cotton - an important source of FX that the leadership so craves).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWfwgcSEBKc




In Response

by: Frank from: London
December 28, 2012 17:03
Some additional points you may wish to note in answering my previous post (they would not fit due to word limit):

The reasons for my belief that the Karimovs are kleptocrats are set out below:
1. They appear extravagant (if the money comes easily from theft then you don’t worry about spending a 43.4m Swiss Francs on a property that changed hands for 13.6m four years earlier)

“En juillet 2010, les époux [Lola Karimova and her partner, Mr Tillayaeva] achètent une propriété à Vandœuvres pour 43,4 millions de francs sur une parcelle de 5812 m2. La demeure s’était échangée en 2006 pour 13,6 millions de francs.”

(Source: http://www.hebdo.ch/la_saga_des_karimova_77690_.html )

2. Gulnara looks to me to be in the value-add sector of the jewellery market (i.e. marketing gemstones as opposed to operating a vertically integrated business that includes gemstone exploaration and extraction). The business model of retailing a non-unique, discretionary product with a high price ticket is not known for producing the world’s most valuable enterprises, is it?
3. Being in the song production business, Gulnara would have to have been as successful as Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones, etc. to account for her wealth. She isn’t, is she?
4. Being a low level Uzbek diplomat does not account for such wealth, does it: Uzbek salaries are not high, are they?
I suggest the bulk of Gulnara’s wealth came from business thefts; monopolistic business practices, that went unchallenged by the State(her father); dilution scams (Gulnara was aided by the State announcing its intention to bankrupt Oxus with a “hundreds of times its typical profits” penalty for allegedly “unauthorised FX transactions” only for the penalty to be cancelled immediately after Gulnara’s vehicle, Zeromax, had picked up a 20% stake in Oxus at a much cheaper price than would have been the case otherwise: this would be an example of a dilution scam if the State’s behaviour were directed by Gulnara or her father: it would have the effect of creaming off the econmic rent that had arisen due to a rise in the gold price and due to Oxus’s gold production costs having remained largely unchanged – Governments are always interested in “economic rent” because (by definition) you can tax that without the business having to downsize – but in this case a portion of the economic rent would have been siphoned off straight into Gulnara’s vehicle – so simple to execute but quite difficult to prove (a hallmark of Gulnara’s modus operandi, and a possible indicator of what she got from her Harvard Business School education?) – a less corrupt country would tax the economic rent by raising mining royalty taxes and by increasing the rate of corporation tax, or if you are Iran you do it with buy-back agreements). And then of course Gulnara has received corrupt payments such as the alleged $250m from TeliaSonara. I’ve also read of allegations of a $75m payment for gas rights sold to Gazprom (money that should have gone to the Uzbek State perhaps?).

For more information of corporate scams practised in Uzbekistan you could do no better than contact Newmont Mining, Metal Tech (its subsidiary, Uzmetal Technology was bankrupted for refusing to pay a matching forex dividend to its 50% Uzbek partner: the money in question was in fact a FX loan interest repatriation, thus not requiring a payout to the Uzbek equity partner), TeliaSonora, and of course Marakand Minerals (its parent Oxus was persuaded to carry out mineral exploration activities, no doubt to stop it repatriating that, once again,all important forex, but when it failed to lose its profits on mineral exploration (exploration the Uzbek Govt. needs to be done to guarantee a future supply of mines and future economic growth) and instead discovered a new mine stuffed with billions of dollars of zinc, promptly had it confiscated and transferred to Almalyk (part of the reason for Saeed Ashurov's detention).
In Response

by: Aftab Kazi from: Washington DC
December 29, 2012 07:51
Frank, your comments are based upon UK Ambassador John Murrays misstatements who spent most of his time visiting belley danceres when in Tashkent. I agree that elites have some benefits in every country, including Uzbekistan, and Gulnara surely is an elite. But she also has her own businesses. President Karimov is very strict. Many companies have been charged for not paying taxes properly. Such was the case related to Mr. Maqsudi, Gulnara's former husband. He was not saved. Corruption remains in every country, not only in Uzbekistan. You must be paying attention to the efforts President Karimov is making to control the levels of corruption, not adding to caricatures and stereotypes being exclusively generated in Western Media about all Central Asian rulers. We have serious cases of corruption in USA, UK, etc. etc but we do not talk about that; why only CA leaders? Who have been successful in maintaining societal balance, democratizing their countries gradually according to the operating levels of their own specific political cultures. The deals you have referred to have much more behind the scenes, not just the involvement of one or two persons. Several Uzbek folks have also been arrested for committing wrongs. My point is that we must try to understand the nature of these societies, which are Eastern, not Western and are struggling to do their best for their people and countries. We must not be caricaturing or stereotyping about them. We are known to be allegedly engaged in foced regime change, color revolutions, etc. etc., not them. I encountered the Honorable Assistant Secretary Bob Blake during the independence day celabration of Uzbekistan in Washington last September 6, who had just returned from his C.A. trip. Officials have different ideas and thinking. Our media is caricaturing about everything Central Asian, and as I stated in an earlier comment is also coloring the perceptions of several analysts dealing with policy matters. I know lots of them. Our media is accustomed to caricature evertything -even good- done by C.A. leaders. As a frequent traveler to C.A countries, I have often learned that many things stated in Western media have turned out wrong. I can only request that please live and let the CA countries in peace. None of our predictions, prescriptions have worked out by our perceptions. In an anarchical world, we need to learn how to cultuvate goodwill, not create or spread hatred by stereotyping. Thanking you fopr your comments.
In Response

by: Frank from: London
December 31, 2012 10:38
Dr Kazi
Herewith the testimony of one of your fellow compatriots who brought overseas earnings to Uzbekistan. His mistake perhaps was to compete with Gulnara's business travel agency interests. (No western bias there).

http://www.harleytourism.com/haroonchoudhry.html

On the “multitalented” Gulnara and the Googoosha singing talent you praise, you might look at BrianBlessed’s “torture for the ears” review. Another customer said “I was deeply disappointed having anticipated the inclusion of a cover of the 1978 Human League classic 'Being Boiled'. Only one star from me.”

By the way, I see Googoosh, the Iranian diva, has put her “ £68 a ticket Royal Albert Hall concert” advertisements below Gulnara's 89 pence “Googoosha” mp3 download button. She is annoyed at Gulnara’s theft of her name?

Your observations, and the conclusions you draw from monitoring Uzbek “elections”, sound a bit like Platonic astronomy: the heavenly bodies orbit the earth in circular fashion because circles are perfect (the fact a few awkward people noted the planets made periodic retrograde motions was ignored): you ignore seemingly minor but relevant facts (Uzbekistan’s position as 5th most corrupt country in the world). If you have to conceal your ownership of businesses to lessen your fortune and to hide conflicts of interest then it is impossible to sack your underlings using normal corporate procedures without undermining your anonimity. It follows we should expect to read reports of those underlings being arrested and beaten up (also they have to be discouraged from theft on their own account in imitation of Gulnara).

To that end you may have read:

Miradil Djalalov (was in charge of Gulnara's Zeromax vehicle) fled the country and was arrested in March 2010.

Bekhzod Akhmedov (one of Gulnora’s money launderers) recently fled Uzbekistan but was returned by Russia and has not been seen since.

Unlike you, I don’t have a PhD but it seems obvious Gulnara Karimova is a robber baron trying to look like Mother Theresa (the charity work), and just in case that isn’t an adequate cover-up there are her posed but revealing and not so revealing photos (the legs, when they emanate from a mini skirt and point up at the camera from a low slung seat are strategically crossed to reveal nothing). The Guli brand and the pop singing don’t account for her wealth: the opportunities for synergies and cross-sellng are limited.

In the way you know black holes (the astronomical type) by how objects near them behave rather than by their indistinguishableness from their surroundings, on that score I suggest Oxus had two odd things about it: it had a) a record of recurring profits frequently ruined by one-off exceptional costs so there was almost never anything left over for reinvestment or dividends and b) a Board of Directors who couldn’t return fast enough some rights issue capital (earmarked for a non-Uzbek project that didn’t then go ahead) as income(which was a “tax inefficient” way to return it). I put it to you that both events were as a result of being too close to the ever voracious Gulnara and her Zeromax vehicle: you know its there but you can’t quite see the money being stolen: all you knew was Oxus was a bottom quartile gold producer by cost and that, what with a contemporaneous backdrop of rising gold prices, there should have been a very nice record of growing eps and a satisfactory share price performance to match: it didn’t happen.

In Response

by: Frank from: London
December 31, 2012 21:28
(Continued from my previous post because of the word limit)

Having forex on the balance sheet outside Uzbekistan might have opened the directors to more scams with “loyalty testing cash burn exploration” projects being used by the Uzbeks to draw it in, an action that needed to be resisted on account of a previously successful “cash drain exploration” project having immediately been confiscated the moment it accidentally (from the Uzbek point of view) proved up $4bn worth of zinc (the Khandiza project) instead of the money being lost finding nothing (the exploration work has to be done regardless of the outcome: the trick is to make others pay for the exploration failures and to confiscate their successes). Recall also that the forex generates a return for someone in the forex feed chain that leads to the top : you get the official exchange rate while they get the extra generated from reselling at the black market rate.

All good theories should make testable predictions:
I predict

Metal-Tech will win an arbitral award against the Uzbek Govt. (result due in February)

Sony, Bertelsmann, Universal/EMI and Warner Bros. will never sign up Googoosha (after ear torture you wouldn’t be a repeat customer)

Oxus will win a large abitral award against the Uzbek Govt. (result due in 2014 perhaps?) due to the Karimov regime’s theft of its assets.

The Guli brand will not generate high sales (it is a smokescreen for the business theft activities).

The Uzbekistan airline routes (the recently added ones) are related to where the forex is going and where the property is being bought (Madrid and Geneva were recently added destinations). It is interesting Sharjah is another Uzbekistan airline stop-off (Scott Horton mentioned the UAE as one place where Gulnara owns property). The Uzbek national airline appears to be a sort of extension of national sovereignty to the door of any overseas destination you want to drop gold bars off at without having to describe such cargoes to overseas airlines.
The gang of thugs to protect Gulnara is likely to increase in proportion to the hatred bestowed upon her.

There won’t be a load of “I love Googoosha” fans making their way to Number 7 Chemin de la Prévôté, 1223 Cologny (a.k.a. Kolonistan), Geneva. Instead there is more likely to be, as Scott Horton called it, an attachment to seize the property and deprive Gulnara of her title to it (or alternatively and angry crowd venting their hatred on it despite it being in a private street where Google Street View can’t go (you can look at the building works that were going on there with Google Satellite)

Most of the same considerations apply to No. 1253 Vandœuvres, Geneva (Lola Karimova’s home).

Without a PhD I may not have every prediction and detail right, but I think my analysis beats your explanation of “Western bias” and of “the Karimovs being popular” despite your observer status at an Uzbek “election”.
In Response

by: Frank from: London
January 02, 2013 09:37
"Frank, your comments are based upon UK Ambassador John Murrays misstatements who spent most of his time visiting belley danceres when in Tashkent. "

Dr Kazi, hi, thanks for replying.

My views derive mainly from reading accounts and public announcements of businesses with assets in Uzbekistan and from U.S. Ambassador Purnell’s remark that Gulnara is the single most hated person in the country. But I agree with Craig Murray’s assessment of Gulnara. Your “Western bias” explanation simply does not explain Mr Purnell’s views as well as the fact that Gulnara’s attempt to portray herself as something she is not would undoubtedly attract contempt: she is the single embodiment of hundreds of thousands of Martha Stewarts in terms of fraud, in meanness she beats Scrooge and for deception she is vile. Other rich people do not attract spoof customer reviews on Amazon like Googoosha (“torture for ears”) or humour like AmericanTroll’s remark.
In controlling access to Uzbekistan’s gas, Gulnara was in a position to sell it at a discount and ask for a $75m bribe. There is no proof she did that, which is why thisTeliasonera news story about the hundreds of millions of dollars frozen by the Swiss in a Takilant account belonging to main shareholder, Gayane Avakyan (a 29 year old lady who sat next to Gulnara at a Paris fashion show) is so interesting. If the Teliasonera story is true then the rumoured up front payment from Gazprom of $75m is more probably true than not: that was money that should have gone to the Uzbek State. The difference between Oxus’ predicted profits based on its business model and on the profits that it actually reported over many years is a matter of record, and the difference is significant, which also probably accounts for why its arbitral claim was so huge in relation to its market capitalisation at the time it began its recovery action. I suggest the difference between the theoretical profit model and what was actually reported was creamed off by Gulnara Karimova.
B. Olsen’s comment in paragraph 8 of the Wikileaks papers is damning (he was an Economics Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent (see it here)
http://www.letemps.ch/cables?id=07TASHKENT2029

Scott Horton’s remark about journalists linking Gulnara to Zeromax having been threatened is of course interesting too.

To convince me Gulnara is not a robber baron, your answer should cover the widespread pattern of business thefts in Uzbekistan and use of a) bogus bankruptcy procedures (Newmont, Oxus and Metal-Tech) b) asset confiscations (Marakand’s Khandiza project: creaming off the proceeds of exploration success) c) dilution scams (issue of new shares in Oxus to Zeromax at a price obtained by depressing the share price with an Uzbek Govt. imposed bankruptcy threatening financial penalty and then cancelling it on completion of the deal d) extraction of shareholder value through reassigment of licences (Uzdonrobita) e) hostage taking as a method to blunt legal action (Saeed Ashurov) to stop the Oxus’s arbitral proceedings or to reduce the size of the Oxus claim f) bribe taking (TeliaSonera and Gazprom) g) the use of thugs to harass businesses for payments (Nihol Pharmaceutical (an Uzbek company), Oxus (the “tax audits”) and the treatment of your compatriot Haroun Choudhry by the SNB. h) the abuse of the commodity price cycle to suck overseas investment in when a project is unviable using tax privilieges and then when the project becomes economic further along the cycle to renege on the tax privileges (as happened with Oxus) and then use one of the many tools to transfer ownership to the Uzbek elite using any of the methods outlined in a) to g). I'll leave there if I may.
In Response

by: Frank from: London
January 03, 2013 12:16
"Frank, your comments are based upon UK Ambassador John Murrays misstatements who spent most of his time visiting belley danceres when in Tashkent. "

Dr Kazi, hi, thanks for replying.

My views derive mainly from reading accounts and public announcements of businesses with assets in Uzbekistan and from U.S. Ambassador Purnell’s remark that Gulnara is the single most hated person in the country. But I agree with Craig Murray’s assessment of Gulnara. Your “Western bias” explanation simply does not explain Mr Purnell’s views as well as the fact that Gulnara’s attempt to portray herself as something she is not would undoubtedly attract contempt: she is the single embodiment of hundreds of thousands of Martha Stewarts in terms of fraud, in meanness she beats Scrooge and for deception she is vile. Other rich people do not attract spoof customer reviews on Amazon like Googoosha (“torture for ears”) or humour like AmericanTroll’s remark.
In controlling access to Uzbekistan’s gas, Gulnara was in a position to sell it at a discount and ask for a $75m bribe. There is no proof she did that, which is why thisTeliasonera news story about the hundreds of millions of dollars frozen by the Swiss in a Takilant account belonging to main shareholder, Gayane Avakyan (a 29 year old lady who sat next to Gulnara at a Paris fashion show) is so interesting. If the Teliasonera story is true then the rumoured up front payment from Gazprom of $75m is more probably true than not: that was money that should have gone to the Uzbek State. The difference between Oxus’ predicted profits based on its business model and on the profits that it actually reported over many years is a matter of record, and the difference is significant, which also probably accounts for why its arbitral claim was so huge in relation to its market capitalisation at the time it began its recovery action. I suggest the difference between the theoretical profit model and what was actually reported was creamed off by Gulnara Karimova.
B. Olsen’s comment in paragraph 8 of the Wikileaks papers is damning (he was an Economics Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent (see it here)
http://www.letemps.ch/cables?id=07TASHKENT2029

Scott Horton’s remark about journalists linking Gulnara to Zeromax having been threatened is of course interesting too.

To convince me Gulnara is not a robber baron, your answer should cover the widespread pattern of business thefts in Uzbekistan and use of a) bogus bankruptcy procedures (Newmont, Oxus and Metal-Tech) b) asset confiscations (Marakand’s Khandiza project: creaming off the proceeds of exploration success) c) dilution scams (issue of new shares in Oxus to Zeromax at a price obtained by depressing the share price with an Uzbek Govt. imposed bankruptcy threatening financial penalty and then cancelling it on completion of the deal d) extraction of shareholder value through reassigment of licences (Uzdonrobita) e) hostage taking as a method to blunt legal action (Saeed Ashurov) to stop the Oxus’s arbitral proceedings or to reduce the size of the Oxus claim f) bribe taking (TeliaSonera and Gazprom) g) the use of thugs to harass businesses for payments (Nihol Pharmaceutical (an Uzbek company), Oxus (the “tax audits”) and the treatment of your compatriot Haroun Choudhry by the SNB. h) the abuse of the commodity price cycle to suck overseas investment in when a project is unviable using tax privilieges and then when the project becomes economic further along the cycle to renege on the tax privileges (as happened with Oxus) and then use one of the many tools to transfer ownership to the Uzbek elite using any of the methods outlined in a) to g).

Craig Murray excelled at understanding his host country: he had an Uzbek girl friend. An interest in boob shimmies and the snake arms does not impact on the quality of his reasoning and observations.

by: American Troll
December 25, 2012 17:37
She should do an Andijon tribute song. It would leave the pop charts boiling.

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