Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov has been hospitalized, a government statement says, amid rumors that he is seriously ill.
Islam Karimov, 78, was undergoing a full examination and treatment would “take a certain period of time”, without giving further details, the statement added.
He has been leader of the former Soviet republic since before independence in 1991.
Islam Karimov is known to have health issues, but the government has never previously issued a statement about his health.
Unconfirmed reports quoted by the Fergananews website said that Islam Karimov had suffered a stroke.
Islam Karimov was last seen on state TV on August 17 meeting the South Korean interior minister.
Uzbekistan’s Independence Day celebrations – which the president always attends – are to be held on September 1.
Islam Karimov has been re-elected as Uzbekistan’s president, according to preliminary results of Sunday’s election.
The widely-predicted outcome saw Islam Karimov, who has led Uzbekistan for more than 25 years, secure 90% of the vote.
However, international observers have criticized the poll, saying that it fell short of international standards.
Uzbek officials said that there was a 91% turnout for the vote.
Islam Karimov, 77, has led Uzbekistan since 1989 when Uzbekistan was still part of the Soviet Union, making him the only leader in the country’s history.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) issued a statement on March 30 criticizing the election for a “lack of genuine political alternatives” to the incumbent and “persistent legal and organizational shortcomings”.
The OSCE also criticized Islam Karimov for disregarding the two-term limit placed on the presidency by the Uzbek constitution.
[youtube teW2O2jjac8 650]
Swiss prosecutors have opened a money laundering investigation into Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov.
The public prosecutor said in a statement that Gulnara Karimova is now part of an inquiry already looking at alleged wrongdoing involving four Uzbeks linked to her.
The investigation involves the business activities of a Swedish telecoms firm.
Gulnara Karimova, 41, had her diplomatic immunity lifted last year when she lost her post as Uzbek envoy to the UN.
A flamboyant businesswoman as well as a pop star in her home country, Gulnara Karimova is believed to have broad commercial interests in the Central Asian republic, ruled by her father for more than two decades.
Swiss prosecutors have opened a money laundering investigation into Gulnara Karimova (photo ITAR-TASS)
The public prosecutor revealed on Wednesday that Gulnara Karimova had been under investigation since September 2013 and that her villa in Cologny, just outside Geneva, had been searched by police the previous month, a few weeks after her immunity was lifted.
Gulnara Karimova is believed to have left Geneva after her role as permanent UN ambassador there came to an end.
Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber told Geneva daily Le Temps that Gulnara Karimova’s diplomatic immunity had previously prevented any action from taking place.
A sum of 800 million Swiss francs ($910 million) has been frozen as part of the inquiry, although the origin of the money is not yet clear, officials say. Several searches have also taken place in France.
Four Uzbek nationals have been under investigation since the summer of 2012. Two were held in custody but released a few months later.
Swedish-Finnish company TeliaSonera, which is partly state-owned, was accused in a 2012 Swedish TV report of paying an intermediary company, Takilant, $300 million for 3G mobile phone rights in Uzbekistan.
Although TeliaSonera strongly denied any wrongdoing, the case was taken up by Swedish prosecutors.
The Swiss authorities did not name TeliaSonera in their statement but said their Swedish colleagues were involved in a corruption inquiry linked to various acquisitions made by a “Swedish enterprise” in the Uzbek telecoms market.
A few months ago, Gulnara Karimova denied any involvement in the TeliaSonera case.