‘Rosoboronexport’ and the Azerbaijani elite
The investigation article by the British newspaper The Guardian, entitled “Azerbaijani laundromat”, revealed the implementation of the secret scheme of 2.9 billion dollars by the ruling elite of Azerbaijan, numerous cases of paying Europeans, buying luxury goods and money “laundering”, which were conducted through British non-transparent companies. This is actually part of Azerbaijan’s international lobbying, to prevent the criticism directed against Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and contribute to the formation of a positive “image” of that country.
The facts revealed by OCCRP, Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project detected, that the secret slush fund of the ruling elite of Azerbaijan was intended not only to bribe European politicians and to acquire luxury items but also for other dark deals. It turns out that “Rosoboronexport”, a Russian monopolist for selling military equipment abroad, has made a payment in that slush fund Data from 2012-2014 were studied, according to which British companies had been registered in Azerbaijani fake names. Organizations were served in the Estonian branch of one of the Danish banks.
As we have already mentioned, Danish journalists from the Berlingske newspaper have received data on the flow of money, and German, British, French and Bulgarian periodicals joined the investigation later. Most of the money was transferred through Azerbaijani bank accounts. One of the largest donors (1.4 billion) was the International Bank of Azerbaijan, which later became bankrupt. It turns out that in 2012, “Rosoboronexport” transferred about 29 million dollars to one of the Azerbaijani companies. “Rosoboronexport” transferred at least 1.8 million dollars to a company owned by Orhan Eyyubov, the son of First Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Yagub Eyubov. “Rosoboronexport’s” money was also transferred to another offshore company, which was a mediator in selling Russian cement to Azerbaijan. The buyer was a holding owned by Arif Pashayev, the father-in-law of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, now to the country’s first vice president Mehriban Aliyeva’s father. By the way, “Rosoboronexport” refused to comment on the true reason for the payments.
In 2012-2013 a British fictitious company transferred 12,000 dollars to First Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Yagub Eyubov and his son, Emin Eyyubov, the country’s ambassador to the Council of Europe for treatment in one of the best American hospitals. And in 2013, in January, Azeri President’s spokesman Azer Hasimov received 18,000 dollars from the British company for “educational trips to the United States”.
UNESCO head and Azerbaijan’s “positive” image
The investigation on “Azerbaijani laundromat”, revealed that Kalin Mitreyev also received payments from British companies, who was appointed member of the board of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development last year. And Mitreyev’s wife is Bulgarian politician, head of UNESCO Irina Bokova. In particular, On October 25, Polux Management transferred 20 thousand euros to Mitreyev’s account. The money was transferred allegedly for “administrative services”. Three days before the receipt of the money, Mitreyev’s wife had organized a photo exhibition called “Azerbaijan. tolerance space”.
The Azerbaijani authorities spend a lot of money on such measures to mitigate criticisms from Western countries for human rights abuses. UNESCO head Irina Bokova has helped Azerbaijani authorities build positive reputation of the country. First Lady of Azerbaijan, now the country’s Vice President, Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded with the Order of Mozart. Irina Bokova handed the highest award of UNESCO herself. Her husband, Kalin Mitreyev received around 425 thousand euro from fake registered British companies through money laundry. According to Mitreyev, he received those funds for consulting services provided to Azerbaijani companies.
Large amounts were also transferred for lobbying activities. In 2014, former CNN producer in London, Eckart Sager, has received about 2 million euro from British companies to propagate the Azerbaijani government and its views. Sager did not give any comment on this occasion. Another beneficiary of the Azerbaijani authorities was the member of Anglo-Azerbaijani society, Jovdat Guliyev, who, in general, has received about 400 thousand pounds. He has not commented either. The cashiers have not been able to find out exactly where the money comes from.