‘Ottawa’ Was Billionaire Uzbek ‘Princess’ Poisoned?
She is described as the most hated woman in Uzbekistan.
But today mystery swirls around the fate of the stunning daughter of dead former dictator Islam Karimov, who was considered one of the world’s cruellest leaders.
Reports out of central Asia are claiming that former model Gulnara Karimova is dead, poisoned by state security forces. Her son — who lives in exile in London — says it’s not so.
But sources inside the country told an opposition news site it may take decades to unravel what really happened to her.
“The person who spoke to us said that it is absolutely unlikely that there will ever be a statement about Gulnara from state officials,” the site reported.
It’s believed Karimova, 44, was taken from the hospital where she was killed and secretly buried in an unmarked grave in a remote cemetery.
Karimova’s gilded life spiraled into chaos after her father purged her in 2013.
The fall-out with her father was very modern. Raunchy snaps of Karimova covered only in peacock feathers made their way to the dictator’s desk. Financial corruption was one thing, sexy selfies were quite another.
At the time, her father’s health was failing and others close to the despot were jockeying for position.
According to the Daily Mirror, quoting an insider, after summoning Karimova, Karmimov “first slapped her and then really started to beat Gulnara. He said that she disgraced the family in front of the whole world.
The source added: “The President’s bodyguards tried to calm him down. Later, the President asked all his bodyguards and servants to leave him alone.
“He did not go into the building of the residence, but decided to have a walk in the garden. At night, while returning to the residence, some bodyguards noticed that he was crying.”
Karimova was Harvard-educated beauty who had a black belt in judo and used the poverty-stricken nation as her own private piggy bank.
At one-time she was the wealthiest woman in the former Soviet Union. She loved luxury, taking frequent trips to Paris and other hotspots where the jet set played.
But she also considered herself a pop star, model, fashion designer, diplomat and her father’s heir apparent. A duet with French star Gerard Depardieu was a hit in the small country.
And she described herself as an “exotic Uzbekistan beauty”.
However, not everyone in the country shared the same charitable view of Karimova.
In emails published by Wikileaks, she was called the “the single most hated person” in the country.
Former British ambassador Craig Murray had mixed emotions about Karimova who he saw as a James Bond-type vixen.
“Gulnara Karimova is one hell of a package. Richer than Paris Hilton, undeniably smarter and arguably sexier – and I’ve met both,” Murray told the Daily Mail.
“Harvard MBA, owner of scores of businesses, martial arts black belt, fluent in four languages, professional jewellery designer, poet and performer of a number one hit pop single.”
He added: “Her muscle-bound boyfriend walks respectfully behind her, head bowed. If you look very closely, you can make out that she is not 21 but 35.”
The real-life Dragon Lady was even allowed to call herself “Professor” even though she was not, and never had been, an academic.
And yet, despite the country’s rampant nepotism, Karimova was particularly despised for her greed and the widespread financial scandals that were an open secret.
She had close links to organized crime and skimmed money from virtually every business in the country allowing her to build a billion dollar fortune.
Ordinary Uzbek people despised her. Wikileaks captured the flavour in a U.S. diplomatic dispatch.
“[She’s viewed as a] greedy, power-hungry individual who uses her father to crush business people or anyone else who stands in her way,” the leaked dispatch said.