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Azerbaijan hits back over ‘scandalous’ money laundering asserts

Baku onslaughts Guardian reporting as smear as National Crime Agency looks at indication and deems investigation

The government of Azerbaijan has responded angrily to disclosures that it operated a secret $2.9 bn( PS2. 2bn) store which was used to pay foremost Europeans, pass lobbying runnings, and launder money via a group of opaque British companies.

Azerbaijan’s deputy president, Ali Hasanov, said here fibs 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” safarus are governed by British ability, 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 provoking ,” he said.

On Tuesday, the authorities blocked access from inside Azerbaijan to the website of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project ( OCCRP ). The OCCRP published details of the scheme, nicknamed the Azerbaijani Laundromat, following a leak of data to the Danish newspaper Berlingske.

The use of British firms in the Laundromat has inspired calls for Theresa May to investigate. This is the second time this year that British corporate entities have been found to be at the heart of a large-scale coin laundering action run from a former Soviet government. In March, a same scheme run from Moscow, the $20 bn Global Laundromat, was exposed.

Opposition politicians pushed the government to act to prevent the misuse of company vehicles. Four offshore-owned British firms- based in Glasgow, Birmingham, and Potters Bar in Hertfordshire- has enabled us to pour money into the western fiscal organization. It moved via the Estonian chapter of a Danish bank, Danske.

Tim Farron, the former Liberal Democrat leader, preceded calls for an inquiry, saying this was what happened” when the corporate landscape is too delicately regulated “.

” Thanks to the Guardian investigation we learn of something called the Azerbaijani Laundromat ,” he said.” But now is the time to bathe some fairly dirty laundry in public and find out exactly who paid fund to whom and why.

” We requirement a full investigation to see that dirty money has not been used to buy influence in the UK. The Azerbaijani government is guilty of systematic human rights abuses and it appears to have been the regime has been making fees on an industrial magnitude .”

Margaret Hodge, the chair of the all-party parliamentary radical for responsible imposition who unveiled the use of tariff shelters as chair of the public accounts committee, added to calls for enhanced transparency.

” Yet again a whistleblower has elevated the eyelid on some unconscionably frightful practice ,” she said.” It would seem that Britain and British overseas territories are promoting suspect corrupt 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 oasis we restrain, such undesirable rehearsals will continue and Britain will be reprehensible because of the government’s failure to act .”

Peter Dowd, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said:” Money laundering suffers our economy, steals from others and perverts our society. The financial organisation should effectively and efficiently provide investment that assistances the whole economy , not boost the offshore bank offsets of plutocrats and criminals here and abroad.

” We have find too many of these stunning scandals in recent years because the Tories are incapable of taking on the rig system, which suffers the many to support the very few .”

Molly Scott Cato, a Green MEP who are participating on the European parliament’s economics and monetary affairs committee and probe into the Panama Papers, said the revelations were appalling and reveal” once again that British claims to be a leader in opennes obstruct a far grubbier world “.

” The relationship between UK companies and our murky offshore charge oasis let the world’s corrupted upper-clas to revel their extravagant life-styles at public expense ,” she said.” They then use these ill-gotten amplifications to buy political affect that prevented from being held to account for human rights abuses and bad authority .”

The four houses at the centre of the Azerbaijani Laundromat were all restraint 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 money from the PS2. 2bn money was used to pay for luxuries such as automobiles, interior design and dentistry, while other summarizes was just going European political leaders and foremost anatomies linked to the promotion of Azerbaijan. Seven million pounds was spent instantly in the UK, including on private school fees.

Azerbaijan’s governing household is not immediately called in the leaked reports. But evidence of a acquaintance was overwhelming. Big summing-ups 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 defence and emergency situations ministries in Baku all contributed cash.

The scheme was used to pay for the government’s incidental expenses including the medical proposals of Yaqub Eyyubov, Azerbaijan’s first deputy prime minister. There were separate pays to Eyyubov’s son Emin, Azerbaijan’s EU ambassador, and to the president’s press secretary, Azer Gasimov.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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