The Uzbek Leader’s Daughter Seems to Have a Thing for Nationally Owned Artwork

Damning evidence of "borrowed" artifacts in onetime pop singer Gulnara Karimova's abandoned $20 million Swiss estate

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Yves Forestier / Getty Images

Gulnara Karimova, center, attends the live show Kings of the Stage, performed by the Lion King Music and Theater Studio, as part of Style.Uz Art Week 2013 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on Oct. 26, 2013

Exiled Uzbek dissidents have broken into a Swiss villa abandoned by President Islam Karimov’s socialite daughter and found what they say are paintings and other items taken from the State Museum of Arts in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, according to a report by Swiss weekly Le Matin Dimanche.

Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of President Karimov, left her $20 million villa in Geneva when French police began a money-laundering investigation. Members of the dissident group Uzdem Fund Suisse broke into the property last month and broadcast images over Skype and Twitter showing a house filled with artworks, gold and silver trinkets and an 18th century jewel-encrusted Koran.

Karimova, who has pursued a pop-music career under the name Googoosha and has designed jewelry for Chopard, has spectacularly fallen out of grace with authorities in Uzbekistan in recent months. It is believed that either her former staff members or the Uzbek security service in alliance with her estranged sister Lola Karimova-Tillayeva assisted the dissidents with the break-in.