Dethroned Azerbaijani elites made big investments in Europe
When Eldar Mahmudov fell out of favor with Azerbaijan’s government, he fell hard.In October 2015, the country’s national security minister was dismissed from his powerful role by a presidential order. Within days, wild stories peppered local media outlets about raids on his villa, where police discovered glass jars full of diamonds and cardboard boxes stuffed with foreign currency. His ministry associates were reportedly arrested on various charges linked to corruption and extortion, and a statue honoring his late father — a famous economist — was unceremoniously demolished. Eldar Mahmudov was dismissed as Azerbaijan's national security chief in October 2015.Credit: Ministry of National SecurityThe lack of transparency in the tightly controlled country makes it difficult to verify the allegations or the reporting. But one thing is clear: by the time Mahmudov left government, his family possessed a sizable fortune, most of it obtained during his decades in public office.A leak of bank documents reveals one mode of moving that family fortune from Azerbaijan to Europe: his children. Reporters from OCCRP and Finance Uncovered scoured terabytes of data, along with public company and property records, to piece together a picture of his family’s business and property empire in the UK, Spain, Luxembourg, Lithuania, and Cyprus. All together, reporters found, it is worth over 100 million euros.
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