Baku onslaughts Guardian reporting as smear as National Crime Agency looks at testify and holds investigation
The government of Azerbaijan has responded angrily to revealings that it led a secret $2.9 bn( PS2. 2bn) money which was used to pay foremost Europeans, extend lobbying business, and launder coin via groupings of opaque British companies.
Azerbaijan’s deputy president, Ali Hasanov, said the narratives by the Guardian and other media partners were a smear. In the first official action from Baku, Hasanov said the regime was the main victims of a “scandalous” campaign are governed by British intelligence, the Armenian diaspora and the US.
” When did the Guardian write about the truth about Azerbaijan? This newspaper has been known for decades for being against Azerbaijan ,” Hasanov told the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet . The reports were” biased, groundless and provocative ,” he said.
On Tuesday, the authorities blocked access from within Azerbaijan to the website of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project ( OCCRP ). The OCCRP produced details of the scheme, nicknamed the Azerbaijani Laundromat, following a leak of data to the Danish newspaper Berlingske.
The use of British companionships in the Laundromat has motivated calls for Theresa May to investigate. This is the second period this year that British corporate entities have been found to be at the heart of a large-scale coin laundering busines run from a former Soviet position. In March, a same programme run from Moscow, the $20 bn Global Laundromat, was exposed.
Opposition legislators pushed the government to act to prevent the abuse of busines vehicles. Four offshore-owned British companies- based in Glasgow, Birmingham, and Potters Bar in Hertfordshire- were used to pour coin into the western financial method. It went via the Estonian diverge of a Danish bank, Danske.
Tim Farron, the former Liberal Democrat leader, conducted calls for an inquiry, saying this was what happened” when the corporate landscape is too lightly regulated “.
” Thanks to the Guardian investigation we learn of something called the Azerbaijani Laundromat ,” he said.” But it is high time to launder some fairly dirty linen in public and catch out precisely who paid coin to whom and why.
” We require a full investigation to see that dirty money has not been used to buy influence in the UK. The Azerbaijani government is guilty of methodical human rights abuses and it appears to have been the regime has been making payments on an industrial scale .”
Margaret Hodge, the chair of the all-party parliamentary group for responsible charge who uncovered the use of taxation havens as chair of the public chronicles committee, added to calls for more transparency.
” Yet again a whistleblower has lifted the lid on some unconscionably dreadful action ,” she said.” It seems that Britain and British overseas territories are facilitating alleged debases rehearses by refusing to introduce the full transparency the Reactionary promised but failed to deliver.
” Until we know who owns companies and properties in Britain and in the tax havens we see, such inappropriate traditions will continue and Britain will be culpable because of the government’s failure to act .”
Peter Dowd, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said:” Money laundering woundeds their own economies, steals from others and infects our society. The financial method should effectively and efficiently provide investment that welfares the whole economy , not boost the offshore bank counterbalances of plutocrats and offenders here and abroad.
” We have attended too many of these scandalizing scandals in recent years because the Tories are incapable of taking on the manipulate structure, which pains the many to support the very few .”
Molly Scott Cato, a Light-green MEP who sits on the European parliament’s economics and monetary affairs committee and inquest into the Panama Papers, said the revelations were shocking and reveal” once again that British claims to be a leader in transparency obscure a far grubbier reality “.
” The concerning the relationship between UK companies and our murky offshore taxation refuges tolerate the world’s corrupt upper-clas to indulge their extravagant lives at public expense ,” she said.” They then use these ill-gotten additions to buy political influence that prevented from being held to account for human rights abuses and bad government .”
The four conglomerates at the centre of the Azerbaijani Laundromat were all limited partnerships registered in the UK. They were: Metastar Invest, Hilux Business, Polux Management, and LCM Alliance. Their corporate “partners” are anonymous entities based in the British Virgin Islands, Seychelles and Belize.
Some of the currency from the PS2. 2bn fund was used to pay for luxuries such as vehicles, interior design and dentistry, while other summing-ups went to European politicians and prominent digits linked to the promotion of Azerbaijan. Seven million pounds was invested instantly in the UK, including on private school fees.
Azerbaijan’s governing kinfolk is not instantly mentioned in the leaked records. But evidence of a joining was overwhelming. Huge summarizes came via the state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan, which is the largest bank in an oil-wealthy country, and hitherto earlier this summer it registered for bankruptcy protection in New York. The defense and emergency situations ministries in Baku all lent cash.
The scheme was used to pay for the government’s incidental expenses including the medical greenbacks of Yaqub Eyyubov, Azerbaijan’s firstly deputy prime minister. There were separate payments to Eyyubov’s son Emin, Azerbaijan’s EU ambassador, and to the president’s press secretary, Azer Gasimov.
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