Donald Trump owes much of his success as a real estate developer to an easy relationship with the anti-money laundering laws, and he continues to profit from his investments while President thanks to an even easier relationship with conflict of interest norms. Reports out of Uzbekistan suggest Jahongir Artykhodjaev, mayor of the capital city Tashkent, has followed a Trumpian-like path to wealth and power. Like Trump, Artykhodjaev has looked past how investors in his real estate projects came into their money; like Trump, while in public office he has steered government contracts to companies he owns, and like Trump, when called on his dual role as businessman and government officials, he claims to have distanced himself from his business empire upon taking office.
The main difference (besides hair color) between Trump and Artykhodjaev is that independent prosecutors are examining whether Trump broke rather than simply bent anti-money laundering and conflict of interest laws. By contrast, after accounts in the international press (here and here) exposed Artykhodjaev’s Trumpian proclivities, senior Uzbek officials called a press conference where they leapt to his defense, going so far as to deny there is any Uzbekistan law that Artykhodjaev could have broken. Continue reading