The Uzbek foreign ministry informed Switzerland on July 9th that the eldest daughter of Uzbekistan’s long-serving President Islam Karimov was no longer her country’s permanent representative to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva, the Swiss foreign ministry said in an email to AFP.
The ministry refused to provide further comments, but Swiss public broadcaster RTS reported that as a result, Karimova has been stripped of all diplomatic immunity.
Karimov, 75, has ruled Uzbekistan since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and his 41-year-old Harvard-educated daughter is closely watched as a possible successor to him, although she has repeatedly denied such ambitions.
But since last year, her name has been mentioned in a massive money laundering probe against Swedish-Finnish telecoms giant TeliaSonera.
The telecom company has been accused of bribing a woman with very close ties to Karimova, in a bid to secure a 3G mobile telephone licence and frequencies in Uzbekistan.
RTS said it had received information indicating that a probe into the matter by the Swiss public prosecutor’s office implicates Karimova directly, although she had yet to be notified officially of any charges.
Four people close to her are meanwhile already officially under investigation and Bern has to date frozen some 800 million Swiss francs ($845 million) in assets in connection with the case, RTS reported, without revealing its sources.
The broadcaster also reported that French authorities had carried out searches of three properties owned by Karimova in that country in June, following a request from Swiss prosecutors.
France has reportedly opened its own probe into the matter.