Yesterday, the President Donald Trump Administration launched a new sanctions regime targeting human rights abusers and corrupt actors around the world. Building on the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act passed by Congress last year, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order declaring a national emergency with respect to serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world and providing for the imposition of sanctions on actors engaged in these malign activities.
In an Annex to the Order, the President imposed sanctions on 13 serious human rights abusers and corrupt actors, among which Gulanara Karimova. In addition, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), acting on behalf of the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, imposed sanctions on an additional 39 affiliated individuals and entities under the newly-issued Order.
As a result of today’s actions, all of the assets within U.S. jurisdiction of the individuals and entities included in the Annex to the Order or designated by OFAC are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
Gulnara Karimova, daughter of the first President Islam Karimov, headed a powerful organized crime syndicate that leveraged state actors to expropriate businesses, monopolize markets, solicit bribes, and administer extortion rackets. In July 2017, the Uzbek Prosecutor General’s Office charged Karimova with directly abetting the criminal activities of an organized crime group whose assets were worth over $1.3 billion.
Karimova was also charged with hiding foreign currency through various means, including the receipt of payoffs in the accounts of offshore companies controlled by an organized criminal group, the illegal sale of radio frequencies and land parcels, siphoning off state funds through fraudulent dividend payments and stock sales, the illegal removal of cash, the non-collection of currency earnings, and the import of goods at inflated prices.
Karimova was also found guilty of embezzlement of state funds, theft, tax evasion, and concealment of documents. Karimova laundered the proceeds of corruption back to her own accounts through a complex network of subsidiary companies and segregated portfolio funds. Karimova’s targeting of successful businesses to maximize her gains and enrich herself in some cases destroyed Uzbek competitors. Due in part to Karimova’s corrupt activities in the telecom sector alone, Uzbeks paid some of the highest rates in the world for cellular service.