Uzbekistan summoned German ambassador over oligarch probe - Spiegel


FILE PHOTO: Russian businessman and founder of USM Holdings Alisher Usmanov attends a session during the Week of Russian Business, organized by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), in Moscow, Russia March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German investigation into Russian-Uzbek billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov, who is accused of money-laundering and tax evasion, has tested diplomatic relations between Germany and Uzbekistan, the Spiegel news magazine reported on Friday.

A series of crisis talks have taken place between the countries' diplomats, according to the report, including the summoning of the German ambassador in Tashkent in late September.

This followed searches carried out at properties registered to Usmanov on the shores of the Tegernsee lake in southern Germany on Sept. 21. The following week, German police also searched a motor yacht in northern Germany as part of the probe.

The Uzbek ambassador to Berlin also appealed to the German Foreign Office for an appointment with the Federal Criminal Police Office, without success, the report said.

Usmanov, who is said to have close relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, was placed on the European Union's sanctions list after the war in Ukraine broke out.

According to Spiegel, investigators accuse Usmanov of withholding around 555 million euros in taxes from the German treasury between 2014 and 2022.

His spokesperson has rejected the accusations against him as baseless and defamatory.

(Writing by Rachel More, Editing by Miranda Murray)

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