Criminal accusations of corruption have been made against Craig Murray:
he lobbied so-called businessmen including those from Pakistan willing to get cotton and other state contracts, those people had contacts with different Uzbek clan representatives including Bekzod Akhmedov. Akhmedov was seen many times in Craig Murray and his pseudo businessmen’s company in dens of iniquity of the capital, Bekzod Akhmedov’s favorite venues.
The allegations must be taken extremely seriously because they come from an Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva. The lady in question is of course Gulnara Karimova, daughter of the President of Uzbekistan. As is her usual method, she gave an interview to a glossy magazine journalist in Switzerland not given to probing questioning. Even this publication baulked at publishing these extraordinary statements, so she gave the full works on her blog:
For example yesterday in Geneva, on the first day of spring, we had another “support team” visiting us, those who are always ready to work off their payments while not having anything else to do, any other interests, hobbies or a properly paid job. A group of a few people including a cameraman, a lady of Uzbek origin Mutabar Tadjibaeva, who introduces herself as a president of the «Club des Coeurs Ardents» and guess who else? Exactly! Craig Murray – ex-ambassador to Uzbekistan, who had been scandalously fired from the British Foreign Office. He lived in Tashkent for a long time and had a relationship and even got married to a strip-bar dancer, he lobbied so-called businessmen including those from Pakistan willing to get cotton and other state contracts, those people had contacts with different Uzbek clan representatives including Bekzod Akhmedov. Akhmedov was seen many times in Craig Murray and his pseudo businessmen’s company in dens of iniquity of the capital, Bekzod Akhmedov’s favorite venues. It seems like the group of people that visited us in Geneva wanted to congratulate us with spring and express their grievance by screaming and as they said they wanted me or my sister Lola to come out. They attempted to sneak inside and walk around the house recording it all on video and we had nothing to do, but call the police and make our own video of this March invasion of “human right defenders” as they call themselves.
It is obvious, that those people mentioned above, a group of bloggers and professional PR firm such as R&R were not catalyzed accidentally. The core of the artificially initiated scandal is lost, constant threats, that someone will say something, someone like Bekzod Akhmeodv who is wanted by Interpol due to his relation to the investigation of MTS activities in Uzbekistan, who from the beginning was under the MTS-Russia protection and requested on January, 9 2013 refugee status with his big family. Also threats came for last three months from lawyers who were stating that they will have newspapers like Financial Times publish all they have, all that Bekzod Akhmedov could compose over almost a year which was accepted with pleasure by MTS lobbyists. Where else could you see such involvement at official level and could this be possible without high-reaching goals, even if it is done in such a straight way?
I might as well state for the record that to my knowledge I have never met or had any contact with Mr Bekzod Akhmedov, I have certainly never been in his social company, let alone on a “den of inquity” (though that does sound fun). I have never met any Pakistani businessmen in or to discuss Uzbekistan and I have never sought any role for myself in trading Uzbek cotton.
I certainly did visit Gulnara’s US $25 million mansion in Geneva, because I wanted to see where the proceeds of forced child labour in the Uzbek cotton fields went. I intend to do so again. I hope lots of people will – its at No. 7, Rue Prevote, Cologny, Geneva.
Gulnara’s peculiar attack on me for the “crime” of looking at her house appears a rather desperate reaction to increasing knowledge of her activities. The Chief Executive of Telesonera, Sweden’s largest telecommunications firm, had to resign recently over corrupt payments to Gulnara. In a decision reminiscent of Blair’s shutdown of the BAE Saudi bribes prosecution, Swedish authorities decided there was no public interest in prosecuting. Gulnara’s Swiss registered holding company Zeromax has been declared bankrupt, owing half a billion dollars to the state in taxes, and its assets confiscated then reprivatised to … Gulnara. Russian Telecoms giant MTS has been kicked out of Uzbekistan, substantially reducing available services there.
All of the above were examples of Gulnara kicking out fellow oligarchs from business interests which she held in partnership with others, to take the lot for herself. That has left a lot of despoiled oligarchs rather rueful. This centralisation of cash prior to a succession battle is a very high risk strategy. It is telling that Gulnara refers to my contact with Uzbek “clans”. In the Uzbek context, this does not mean tribe, but rather something more akin to regionally based mafia groupings, with whom the common people of the region have no identity. Gulnara is in the middle of a major rupture with Gafur Rakhimov, the largest mafia boss whose alliance with Karimov had been central to the regime’s stability.
I do not imagine Gulnara really believes I am connected to any of these rival mafia interests, though it is possible she is really that crazy. But plainly she is very rattled, or she would not be drawing all this attention to her business interests.
Two small points from the above. Firstly, one passage seems to reveal that the “interviewer” from Bilan was a chum of hers.
and guess who else? Exactly! Craig Murray – ex-ambassador to Uzbekistan,
I don’t think an ordinary Swiss journalist would have any idea who I was, let alone know I had called at the house.
This is one of my all time favourite tough journalist questions:
You are leading the list of most popular personalities from Central Asia in 2012 on search engines such as Google and Yandex. You are almost every day active on Twitter where you post many of your photos. How is this all related?
Final point – the first sentence of this post refers to me in the third person not because I have gone delusional, but so it works well as a retweet.
I have every hope the Karimov regime will fall in spring 2015.