Gulnara Karimova: Building a £200m Property Empire Amid Uzbekistan’s Corruption

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Gulnara Karimova is the eldest daughter of the former President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov. She was a prominent figure in the country’s political and business spheres until her fall from grace in 2014. During her time as an influential figure in Uzbekistan, she built a property empire worth over £200m.

Karimova’s business activities began in the early 2000s when she founded Zeromax, a Swiss-registered company with interests in oil, gas, and telecommunications. Zeromax became a major player in Uzbekistan’s economy, securing contracts with foreign companies and working closely with the government. Karimova’s close ties to her father, who ruled Uzbekistan for over 25 years, helped her amass a fortune.

In 2013, Karimova’s fortunes took a hit when Swiss authorities froze her assets following an investigation into alleged money laundering. The following year, she was placed under house arrest in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital city. The Uzbek government accused her of corruption and embezzlement, although some critics claim that the charges were politically motivated.

Despite her legal troubles, Karimova’s property empire continued to thrive. She owned a number of luxury properties in Europe, including a mansion in Geneva and a penthouse in London’s Knightsbridge. In 2017, the Swiss government seized her assets, including a villa on the shores of Lake Geneva and a yacht named after her daughter.

Karimova’s rise to power and wealth is not unique in Uzbekistan, where nepotism and corruption are widespread. Her father’s authoritarian regime and his policy of isolating Uzbekistan from the global economy created a system in which a small group of individuals, including Karimova, were able to accumulate vast wealth and influence.

Karimova’s story highlights the challenges that many countries face as they attempt to transition from authoritarian rule to democracy and market-based economies. The legacy of corruption and nepotism can be difficult to overcome, and the path to transparency and accountability can be long and arduous.

 Gulnara Karimova’s £200m property empire is a symbol of the wealth and power that can be accumulated through close ties to an authoritarian regime. Her story highlights the need for greater transparency and accountability in the world’s political and business spheres and serves as a cautionary tale of the dangers of unchecked power and corruption.

Staff Reporter

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