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Uzbek Charity Group Accused Of Embezzling Anti-Coronavirus Funds

TASHKENT – Uzbekistan has charged the head and other staff at the local charity foundation Mercy and Heath with embezzling about $273,000 that had been donated to fight against the coronavirus pandemic in the Central Asian country.

The Prosecutor-General’s Office said on August 26 that Asrol Mirzahmedov and several other staff members are accused of colluding to buy medical equipment and drugs at inflated prices.

It was not immediately clear whether the suspects had been arrested and who supplied the medicines and equipment.

The suspects have been formally charged with involvement in large-scale embezzlement. They face up to five years in prison if found guilty.

In recent months, the Mercy and Health public foundation has received millions of dollars in donations meant for various projects to fight against COVID-19.

According to local media reports, Uzbek-born Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov has contributed $20 million to purchase modern equipment for a hospital in Tashkent’s Zangiota district.

As of August 27, Uzbekistan had reported 40,338 coronavirus infection cases, with 297 deaths.

With reporting by

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