Pandora papers expose alleged secret wealth and dealings of Aliyev family
The latest investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), dubbed the Pandora Papers, found the family of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and their close associates have secretly been involved in property deals in the UK worth approximately 600 million Euro. Deals were supposedly facilitated using several offshore companies.
The files show how the Aliyev’s bought a total of 17 properties, the BBC reported. Aliyev’s son, Heydar, owned four buildings in London’s Mayfair district when he was just 11 years old. A $44.7 million block was bought by a front company owned by a family friend of the President in 2009 and was transferred one month later to Heydar. Most of these properties were purchased in cash.
The opposition Azerbaijan Movement for Democracy and Prosperity has issued a statement on October 12 on the Pandora papers. The oppositionists demanded that President Aliyev and his family report on the facts about them that were mentioned in the material.
“According to Pandora’s Dossier, the Aliyev family’s real estate trade turnover in London in 2006-2016 amounted to 429 million pounds sterling or one billion manats. No one doubts that dirty corruption money is the source of this business. For the reason that it would take Ilham Aliyev 3,070 years to accumulate such an amount, given his average salary for the reporting period”, reads the statement of the Azerbaijani Movement for Democracy and Prosperity.
The opposition movement further said in a statement that “investment in the real estate business in London by the Aliyev family during the years of his leadership of the country is the result of abuse of power, involvement in corruption and illegal business activities.
Azerbaijani leader reacted to accusations the following day in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Republica. “What has been published is only 5% true”, he said, commenting on facts revealed in the Pandora Papers. “These questions have accompanied me for many years. Depending on the political situation, some forces in the West are trying to use such slanderous materials to weaken the position of Azerbaijan and discredit it. It is clear that this is not a journalistic investigation. It is clear who is behind this. It is clear why Azerbaijan appears there. I don’t know about others. We knew that such campaigns were planned against Azerbaijan after the victory in the war.”
“As for the topic itself, I have been President for 18 years. Before that, I was a businessman engaged in business. My biography is well known. Moreover, I was a successful businessman. When I was elected President, I was not a poor man.
After that, I suspended my direct involvement in the business and transferred it to family members. Maybe you will understand me, unlike other people in the West who bequeathed all their inheritance to cats and dogs, in Italy and Azerbaijan, they prefer family values. Therefore, I transferred my entire business to my children. They try and develop it”, stressed the Azerbaijani leader.
The files from offshore companies dubbed the Pandora Papers involve some 35 current and former leaders and more than 300 officials. The findings of an examination of the files — the largest organised by the ICIJ were released on October 3.