Switzerland And Uzbekistan Sign Deal On Return of $131m Illicit Assets

Switzerland agreed to return back $131 million to Uzbekistan confiscated as part of a money-laundering investigation, involving the daughter of former Uzbek President Islam Karimov.

Uzbekistan Justice Minister Ruslanbek Davletov and Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis signed the agreement in the capital city Bern.

A statement by the Uzbek Justice Ministry said that the agreement “will further strengthen” relations between the countries in long terms.

The deal will place the seized funds from Swiss accounts belonging to Gulnara Karimova in a United Nations trust fund and use it in the development of Uzbekistan and for the benefit of its 35 million population.

According to the deal, Swiss authorities can seize further assets from Karimova as part of ongoing criminal proceedings and flow it into the UN trust fund.

Islam Karimova ruled Uzbekistan for 1991 until his death in 2016 and was accused of receiving large sums from foreign telecommunications companies operating inside the country.     

Karimova’s daughter, Gulnara was Uzbekistan’s UN representative in Geneva and also a successful businesswoman. However, she was placed under house arrest in 2014 on charges of embezzlement and extortion.

In early 2022, the Uzbek Justice Ministry said that it is in contact with the officials from Switzerland, US, France, Russia, and several other courtiers to return Karimova’s assets that the ministry said it were earned illegally.

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