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Karimova Is In Custody, Uzbek Prosecutor-General's Office Says

Gulnara Karimova in a 2012 photo
Gulnara Karimova in a 2012 photo

The Uzbek Prosecutor-General's Office says Gulnara Karimova, eldest daughter of the late longtime President Islam Karimov, is in custody following a 2015 conviction and faces additional charges in a continuing investigation.

The July 28 statement marked the first time authorities in the tightly controlled Central Asian country have revealed details about the status of Karimova, who has long been rumored to be under strict house arrest in the capital, Tashkent.

It came amid steps by President Shavkat Mirziyaev, who replaced Karimov after his death was announced in September and was subsequently elected, to decrease the country's isolation.

Karimova, 45, was once a high-profile socialite, fashion designer, pop singer, and ambassador to United Nations agencies in Geneva who was seen as a potential successor to her father, the autocrat who ruled for a quarter-century.

But her fortunes changed as she found herself at the center of a financial-crimes probe in Uzbekistan in which many of her associates have been jailed. She has also been tied to ongoing money-laundering investigations in Sweden and Switzerland.

The statement by the Prosecutor-General's Office said that Karimova was sentenced to five years of "restricted freedom" in 2015 after she and several associates were convicted of crimes including extortion, embezzlement, and tax evasion.

Karimova has additionally been charged with several other crimes, including financial misdeeds, forgery, and money laundering, and the investigation continues, the statement said.

It said she has been ordered held in custody in connection with those charges, but it did not specify what form of custody.

Multiple previous reports have indicated she has been under house arrest since 2014.