U.S. authorities are asking European counterparts to seize about $1 billion in assets related to a wide-ranging criminal probe of alleged corruption by three global telecom companies and intermediaries close to the daughter of Uzbekistan’s president, according to court documents and people with direct knowledge of the criminal investigation.
The effort is one of the biggest recent moves by U.S. authorities targeting what prosecutors believe are the spoils of alleged corrupt activities overseas. The U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission probes were disclosed last year, and related investigations by European counterparts have been under way for several years. But the recent move by the U.S. to seize assets sheds new light on the magnitude of the corruption American prosecutors believe took place.
U.S. prosecutors believe Amsterdam-based Vimpelcom Ltd., Mobile TeleSystems PJSC of Russia and Sweden’s TeliaSonera AB funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to businesses controlled by Gulnara Karimova, the elder daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, in an effort to secure wireless frequencies and other deals in that country, according to court documents and people with direct knowledge of the probe.
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