Another Russian Investor is being Squeezed out of Uzbekistan

Discussion in 'Asia' started by anatoli_1978, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. anatoli_1978

    anatoli_1978 Rookie

    Jul 26, 2012
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    Development concerning subsidiary company of MTC in Uzbekistan has been taking place. According to the sources at the Uzbek President’s Office it was expected a telephone conversation to take place between two heads of states after the spouse of Radik Dautov, one of the leaders of MTC-Uzbekistan, who is a Russian citizen wrote to the Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Among the items to be discussed there was the situation concerning subsidiary company of MTC.
    The analyses of the events shows that practically from the time of its establishment, the company faces a lot of problems related with Gulnara Karimova. Uzdunrobita joint venture (JV), the first mobile communication company was established in 1991. The founders of the company were the following companies: ICG (USA), a Pakistani telephone company and the Ministry of Telecommunications of Uzbekistan. Already in August 1992 Islam Karimov, the President of Uzbekistan made first call within the NMT-450 network of Uzdunrobita JV.
    In the first years the mobile communication was too expensive and not affordable for broad masses of population. For example, as of January, 1 1994 there were 224 subscribers of the mobile communication system, and during 1995 the number of subscribers increased up to 823. However, it was actually first successful foreign investment project in the Republic.
    By 2000 Uzdunrobita JV has become one of the most profitable companies of Uzbekistan and at once it came in sight of Gulnara Karimova’s financial consultants. It should be noted that the scheme of first raider seizures of the profitable projects in Uzbekistan was first launched by Mansur Maksudi, Gulnara Karimova’s former husband, a representative of a powerful Afghan tribe of ethnic Uzbeks, residing in New Jersey. For several years spent in Uzbekistan President Karinmov’s son-in-law became an Uzbek “Lemonade King” when he led a local branch of Coca-Cola, established Roz Trading, his own firm and step by step having seized sugar, cotton and oil-and-gas trade. Having scandalously divorced with him, Gulnara Karimova took all the business of her ex-husband, and showed incredible business acumen multiplied by cupidity and merciless.
    In 2001 Gulnara Karimova founded Revi Holdings Company at the off-shore zone in Sharjah, UAE (later it was renamed as Camfed Group). This company became a profit center for several companies being under Karimova’s control at her homeland. Soon, after the company was established “considerable money transfers in US dollars from Uzbekistan” started to remit to UAE.
    According to the internal report of the company, in 2002 Karimova bought control of the Uzdunrobita JV. International Communications Group (USA) transferred to the Revi Holdings’ account 20% and then the Uzbek Government (i.e. her father) remitted another 31,4%. According to Financial Times, a powerful British newspaper, in the end of 2002 Uzdunrobita transferred $330,000 to the account of Revi Holdings for “consulting services”. Dun and Bradstreet, an independent research center confirmed Revi Holdings holding shares of Uzdunrobita JV. Revi Holdings received significant financial assets from Huawei Technologies, a Chinese telecommunication company as well. Huawei Technologies assisted Uzdunrobita to create GSM network outside Tashkent. This transaction is corroborated by banking documentation.
    It should be noted that during the same period Gulnara Karimova has acquired 44,5% of Kuvasaytsement through United International Group, another company established in Sharjah. According to the documents the share in the cement plant, one of the valuable industrial assets of Uzbekistan cost $172,853 US only.
    Despite that the issue of the raider seizure of MTC-Uzbekistan having extensive media coverage in Russia and Internet resources there is less information that primarily Uzdunrobita JV was merged by Karimova’s structures applying the methods, similar to those used in current events. Moreover, Miss Karimova, as experts state, has a special interest for mobile companies.
    As it is known, on 17th of February, 2004 Telecom Inc. JV was established. The founders were Uzbektelecom, stock company, with 30% of shares and NCI Projects International (USA) that owned 70% of statutory fund which appeared in the market of mobile connection of Uzbekistan under the brand Skytel in the end of 2004. Pattah Shodiev, a Kazakh businessman of Uzbek origin, appeared as the cofounder of NCI Projects international.
    During 2004 the company had established network in Tashkent and Tashkent region, Fergana valley, Kashkadarya, Surkhandarya and Sirdarya regions of Uzbekistan. But in February 2005 the oversight bodies stopped its activity in Tashkent and Tashkent region.
    According to Viktor Khanna, a vice-president and director of NCI Projects International, the problems in Skytel appeared right after Gulnara Karimova’s proposal to sell her 30% of the company shares for $2.3 US, when about $17 million US were spent for the development of the mobile operator. Soon the NCI Projects International, one of the 5 biggest investors in Uzbekistan in 2004, had to finish its activity in the country. The Uzbek government had established Uzmobile, the national mobile company, on the basis of Skytel.
    The same situation happened in 2007. So, VCN Corp (USA) (Coscom mobile operator) had to sell Coscom mobile operator in Uzbekistan to Scandinavian TeliaSonera. The company was the third in size among mobile operators following MTC and VimpelCom branches. Gulnara Karimova was pointed in the messages of the American diplomats on this matter.
    Unlike SkyTel, the MTC – Uzbekistan Company, 100% foreign company, was still under control of Karimova, in spite of the fact that she got $250 million US after selling the mobile operator to the Russian investor. Bekhzod Akhmedov, Director General of MTC - Uzbekistan, had to cover Karimova’s expenses for her so called charity activity as well as her personal expenses. In spite of it, Karimova decided to use the tried scheme against the MTC – Uzbekistan, having in mind an overall change of the company management and to assign another head of the company. According to the independent observers, it may be Rustam Madumarov who positions himself as Gulnara Karimova’s husband.
    Rustam Madumarov was born in Tashkent region, he is an ethnic Tajik. He met with Gulnara Karimova in 2000 when he was a soloist of Dado, a famous music group at that time. Under Gulnara Karimova’s patronage Madumarov established Terra Group Company and Nirvana distribution network selling DVD discs. Nowadays, Nirvana is the monopolist of the segment in the Uzbek market.
    According to the Communication Agency of Uzbekistan, the problems of MTC-Uzbekistan are expected to be resolved soon.

    Anatoliy Volodarskiy

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