Uzbekistan: Over 50 executives of the biggest wholesale market are arrested in Tashkent
The investigators of the Republic of Uzbekistan Prosecutor General’s Office filed the criminal case against the managers of the biggest wholesale market (food, industrial and construction materials) of Uzbekistan – Open Joint Stock Company Karavan Bazar. They are convicted of violations of trade rules, misapplication of funds and jobbery.
According to Ezgulik human rights defenders, the authorities already arrested 52 people, including Nodir Rakhmatov, the Chairman of OJSC Karavan Bazar, his deputies Ravshan Rakhimov, Adil Karimov, the market associates and businessmen. Other 19 people, including high ranking officials, are now officially wanted.
Allegedly, the initial audit confirmed the damage, produced by "criminal group", in the amount of 47 billion sum (21.5 million US dollars at unofficial rate). The investigation authorities filed the cases on 15 articles of the Republic of Uzbekistan Criminal Code.
It has to be mentioned that the market Supervisory Board Chairman is Dmitry Lee (other sources indicate Lim as the last name), one of the most influential businessmen in Uzbekistan and the citizen of South Korea. In the opinion of independent observers, he ran one of the biggest markets in Central Asia through the assistance of some highly ranking governmental officials.
At the moment, Mr. Lee is released on bail. Our sources indicate that he is a multi-millionaire, the owner of big property and retail shops in the capital city. His house is located close to Uchtepi khokimiyat (administration).
Allegedly, the reason of such radical actions may be the plan of Lola Tillaeva-Karimova, the owner of Abu-Sahiy consumer goods market and the youngest daughter of President Karimov, to take over Karavan Bazar market. However, there are no confirmations yet.
Few sources say that the empire of Lola Tillaeva-Karimova includes over 200 parking areas in Tashkent, over 20 big consumer goods markets in the capital city and bordering oblasts. 90 percent of supplies to these markets are provided by the group, controlled by Timur Tillaev, the husband of Lola Karimova. The industrial goods and food items are imported to the republic without payment of customs fees through Tashkent-Cargo Company.
The profit is split into few categories: the delivery of the consumer goods from China without payments of customs duties, their wholesale sale to the traders without cash register transactions, the collection of fees from these traders.
According to Ferghana.Ru source, the daily turnover at Abu-Sahiy market, also controlled by Timur Tillaev, reaches 500-800 million sum ($250-400 thousand).