Iman Karimova describes the arrest of her mother and being held captive near Tashkent
Police raids, an ad hoc trial, and an aide who committed suicide by drinking vinegar: the 20-year-old daughter of Gulnara Karimova has provided new details about the remarkable fall from grace of her mother, the daughter of Uzbekistans late dictator Islam Karimov.
Karimova was one of the richest and most privileged people in post-Soviet Central Asia until her arrest in 2014, apparently on the orders of her own father. Her story has always resembled a tale from a morality play: vanity, corruption, hubris and eventual downfall, played out against a backdrop of an ageing autocrat and his feuding family.
The details have remained murky and shrouded in rumour and speculation, however. Now her daughter Iman, who has spent much of the past five years in effect held hostage by Uzbek authorities along with her mother, has spoken publicly for the first time in an interview with the Guardian.
Her testimony provides new insight into the Gulnara saga, and also raises alarming questions about the actions of the current Uzbek authorities, led by the new president, Shavkhat Mirziyoyev, who has portrayed himself as a reformer.
Iman Karimova also provided video, apparently shot last week in the Tashkent flat where her mother has been under house arrest, of the former socialite being dragged out of the front door by guards. Uzbek authorities say she has been transferred to prison for breaking the terms of her house arrest.
The image of a dishevelled and off-balance Karimova being dragged to jail in a dressing gown and pair of pink slippers is a far cry from her life a few years ago, when she starred in expensively shot music videos, released her own line of perfumes and organised fashion shows in Tashkent that drew western celebrities such as Sting and Gerard Depardieu.
She was described by US diplomats, in cables released by WikiLeaks, as a robber baron. Last week the US Department of Justice unsealed an indictment that accused her of soliciting and receiving $865m (661m) of bribes from international telecoms companies in return for organising their Uzbek licences. She has also been targeted by Swiss and Swedish anti-corruption investigations. She has denied all corruption allegations.
Her father ruled the country from its independence in 1991 until his death in 2016, and was accused of running one of the worlds most brutal regimes, massacring hundreds of unarmed protesters in 2005, employing torture against political opponents and using forced child labour during cotton harvests.
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