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Uzbekistan: Capital amnesty initiative stalls in the face of public skepticism

Author: EurasiaNet, Published on: 17 July 2008

Authorities in Uzbekistan are…offering an amnesty on individual assets…money deposited by Uzbek citizens in banks will not be subject to taxes, fines or investigations by fiscal authorities…Uzbek entrepreneurs complain that….banks continue to routinely violate the privacy of depositors. According to some Uzbek business owners, banks still report to the Uzbek security services any deposit or transfer exceeding $1,000…Many Uzbek residents are questioning the government’s motives for offering the capital amnesty. Given the government’s opaque decision-making process, conspiracy theories have circulated in Tashkent. One such theory holds that Uzbek officials have grown increasingly concerned that thriving black and gray markets are creating a new subset of wealthy citizens who do not owe allegiance to the [government]…This independence…poses a serious security challenge, from the official viewpoint. By encouraging the wealthy to keep their money in government banks, authorities are thus seeking to enhance their control over the country’s political life, the theory goes.

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