On 14 December, OCCRP published an article about Amanda Turgunova, whose husband was Raimbek Matraimov, a Kyrgyz government official. Matraimov had been a public servant since the late 1990s, when he reportedly joined the customs service as an inspector. He rose through the ranks and was promoted to deputy head of the entire service in 2015. But his highest official salary barely exceeded $1,000 per month, if his own asset declarations are to be believed. While the full extent of his wealth was never clear, although many people in Kyrgyzstan have long believed the Matraimov family to be extremely rich — earning him the popular nickname “Raim Million”. An investigation is said to have shown show Turgunova (whose legal name is not Amanda, but Uulkan), her nanny, and her daughter cruising on a private jet, enjoying yacht outings, and staying in some of the world’s most luxurious hotels. They also show Turgunova flashing the latest additions to her growing collection of clothes from iconic brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel. The cost of the items Turgunova posted while Matraimov was working as a public official, and which reporters were able to identify, adds up to over $400,000. She posted many more that could not be identified. In October, Matraimov was arrested and, while his fate is unclear, before being released under house arrest, he had promised to compensate the state budget for “criminal acts” (it is unclear whether he has admitted any guilt) and has since been making payments. It is said that observers are sceptical, raising the question of whether Matraimov is simply buying his way free.
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