19:55 / 16.08.2022
Uzbekistan, Switzerland sign a definitive agreement on return of Gulnara Karimova’s assets

On August 16, in Bern (Switzerland), an agreement was signed between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Swiss Confederation “On ways to return for the benefit of the population of the Republic of Uzbekistan illegally acquired assets confiscated in the territory of the Swiss Confederation”.

Фото: Press service of the Justice Ministry

According to the press service of the Justice Ministry, on behalf of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the agreement was signed by the Minister of Justice, and on behalf of Switzerland - by the President of this country.

“Signing of the agreement marks the immediate return by Switzerland of $131 million to the people of Uzbekistan, previously illegally acquired by an organized crime group led by Gulnara Karimova and legalized in Switzerland,” the statement said.

According to the document, the key principles for the return of illegally acquired assets are:

- openness and transparency, open publication of information related to restitution for the public;
- participation of civil society in this process;
- the final use of the returned funds in the social sphere, in particular for education and health care;
- maintaining a constant, fruitful and respectful dialogue on restitution issues between Uzbekistan and Switzerland.

Restitution will be carried out through the Uzbekistan Vision 2030 multi-partner trust fund, which is part of the UN multi-partner trust fund system. The Fund has the following administrative and organizational structure with the relevant functions and powers:

- a high-level strategic committee (one high-ranking representative from Uzbekistan and Switzerland) - makes decisions of a strategic nature on the activities of the fund;
- the steering committee (one representative each from Uzbekistan, Switzerland and the UN) - makes decisions by full consensus on the operational activities of the fund, including the consideration and approval of projects.

In addition, the organizational structure includes a civil society advisory council consisting of representatives of civil society in Uzbekistan and Switzerland, as well as international NGOs, which exercises public control over the activities of the fund, and which will carry out its activities on a voluntary basis and without wages.

The projects approved by the steering committee will be implemented by the relevant UN agencies in Uzbekistan together with the Uzbek side. All information about completed and ongoing projects will be published and available to the general public.

“Such a system will minimize corruption and other risks, as well as ensure transparency and accountability when spending funds,” the Ministry of Justice concluded.