The daughter of the former president of Uzbekistan built a $243 million real estate empire, here’s how


Ms Karimova used British companies to buy property using bribe money.

Gulnara Karimova, daughter of former Uzbekistan president Islam Karimov, was a pop sensation and a diplomat spent $240 million on properties from London to Hong Kong, according to the BBC.

According to the Freedom For Eurasia study, Ms. Karimova used British companies to buy real estate and an airplane by using money she earned from bribery and corruption. It further stated that British companies participating in the agreements used accountancy firms from London and the British Virgin Islands.

According to the outlet, the British government has been criticized for not doing enough to prevent foreign criminals from using British property to launder money. There is no indication that those known to her affiliated firms were of any connection to her. No one in the UK who provided these services has been investigated or penalized. It should be noted that Ms Karimova used to be expected to succeed her father. She performed in music videos under the stage name “Googoosha”, ran a jewelry business and served as an ambassador to Spain.

However, in 2014, she disappeared from the public eye. She was jailed in December 2017 when it was later revealed that she had been imprisoned on corruption charges while her father was still in power. Ms Karimova was sentenced to prison in 2019 for violating the terms of her house arrest. She was accused of being a member of a criminal organization that controlled more than $1 billion in assets spread across 12 countries, including the UK, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

However, some of the property allegedly purchased with corrupted money had already been sold. According to Freedom For Eurasia, which investigated property and land registry records, at least 14 properties in the UK, Switzerland, France, Dubai and Hong Kong were purchased with allegedly suspicious funds prior to her detention.

According to the BBC, the report focuses on five homes bought in and around London that are now estimated to be worth £50 million. These homes include three flats in Belgravia, which is near Buckingham Palace, a house in Mayfair and a country house in Surrey with its own boating lake. Before Ms Karimova was imprisoned in 2013, two of the Belgravia apartments were sold. The Serious Fraud Office froze the Surrey estate, Mayfair house and Belgravia apartment in 2017.

In its research, Freedom For Eurasia also cites companies in London and the British Virgin Islands that allege that Karimova or her colleagues bought both real estate and a private jet using the proceeds of crime. Rustam Madumarov, Ms Karimova’s boyfriend and other people now alleged to be her accomplices, were named in official documents as the “ultimate owners” of companies with facilities in the UK, Gibraltar and the British Virgin Islands. According to the study, they served as stand-ins for Ms. Karimova, who used the companies to launder hundreds of millions of dollars.

In 2020, SH Landes, an accounting firm associated with Ms Karimova’s UK businesses, attempted to create or buy out another company. The goal was to buy a private plane for about $40 million, identifying her boyfriend as the beneficial owner. However, according to the report, Ms. Karimova was actually the driving force behind the purchase.

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