A Tajik businessman jailed in Dubai released what his aides said would be the first of many recordings that would expose corruption at the highest levels of government.
Now a second installment has appeared online.
The businessman, Umarali Quvatov, was detained last month in Dubai and is fighting extradition to Tajikistan following accusations of fraud.
On January 10 he released an audio recording of an alleged taped telephone conversation between himself and Shamsullo Sohibov, a son-in-law of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon. In it, the man who is purportedly Sohibov complains roughly that Rahmon's approval is needed for anything to get done in Tajikistan.
In the second recording, posted online on January 13, a man who is allegedly Sohibov offers Quvatov a bribe on condition that he leave Faroz, a company that Quvatov claims he and Sohibov co-owned before Quvatov was forced to leave the country.
In the roughly one-minute-long recording, the man who is purportedly Sohibov offers Quvatov what he calls “legal money” and tells Quvatov that if he accepts the money they will no longer be business partners. He adds that he would not let anyone “hurt” Quvatov. After Quvatov asks about the conditions of the deal, "Sohibov" tells him that if he leaves the company he will keep his promise and they will remain friends instead of enemies.
Quvatov’s aide, Nikolai Nikolaev, told RFE/RL’s Tajik Service on January 11 that his team was releasing the recordings in order to prove that Rahmon’s relatives used coercion and intimidation to take over Faroz. The company exports oil products via Tajik territory to Afghanistan.
Late last week, a spokesman for Faroz told RFE/RL that no one by the name of Sohibov works for the company. The company has also denied Quvatov’s involvement in it.
Quvatov was arrested on December 23 in Dubai at the request of Tajik authorities, who have accused him of committing $1.2 million in fraud. However, Quvatov claims he was instrumental in the creation of a network of companies controlled by Rahmon’s relatives and allies.
-- Deana Kjuka; based on reporting by RFE/RL's Tajik Service