Aliyev’s ‘Azerbaijani Laundromat’
Lately Azerbaijan has appeared in the center of attention of authoritative periodicals and organizations. The famous British “The Guardian” has published an extensive article which, essentially, can become a ground to criminal accusations against Aliyev regime.
The periodical has published details on the scandalous case labeled as “Azerbaijani Laundromat” by the media, pursuant to which Azerbaijani elite has not only operated money laundering via illegal financial scheme for a long time, but also has transferred huge amount of money to lobbyists advancing Azerbaijani interest, European political figures with the aim of increasing its influence.
From 2012 to 2014, 2.9 bn USD has been transferred, which signifies that the average of 3 mln USD has been transferred from Azerbaijan daily. Overall, 16.000 payments have been made via different currencies. The cash money has been transferred by 4 British offshore companies (Hilux Services, Polux Management, Metastar Invest, LCM Alliance) about the owners of which there is no information in place. Afterwards the money has been spent in different countries.
It appears that the largest bank of Denmark – “Danske”, has made payments via the small branch in Estonia which has not induced suspicion. Besides, the scheme organizers have made an advantage of the weak sides of the control system of the operations of companies in Great Britain. Later “Danske” has confessed that it has found out about the suspicious transfers made via its branch only in 2014 and has immediately informed the authorities, leaving the further moves to them.
The ‘black purse’ of Azerbaijan’s ruling elite for Europeans
The list of the people receiving money from “Azerbaijani Laundromat” encompasses European figures. One of them is the former president of the European People’s Party in Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Italian Luca Volontè, who has voted against the report condemning human rights violations in Azerbaijan in 2013. Pursuant to the information, Volonte has received 2 mln USD for voting against the document condemning Aliyev administration. Besides, the name of the official is mentioned in so called “caviar diplomacy” scandal which is also connected with bribery of European diplomats by Azerbaijani authorities.
Within the number of the bribed people is former German MP Eduard Lintner who was paid 819.500 Euros by Azerbaijan. It is known that during the latest presidential elections of the country Lintner, as an observer, has visited Azerbaijan and recorded that the election process has complied with the “German standards”. He has received 61.000 Euros for that from Baku.
According to the investigation, in 2013, UNESCO director general, Bulgarian political figure Irina Bokova has conducted a photo exhibition entitled “Azerbaijan – a Land of Tolerance” and 3 days later her husband, Kalin Mitrev has received 20.000 Euros. Totally, he has received 425.000 Euros throughout 2 years.
It is known that the influx of the information on “Azerbaijani Laundromat” has been implemented by Danish newspaper “Berlingske” which has shared all the details with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), The Guardian periodical and other media partners.