Children of former Azeri security chief acquired luxury UK properties

 A string of luxurious homes, together with a £17m house close to Harrods, had been got by way of the kids of Azerbaijan’s former safety leader, an investigation has published.

Eldar Mahmudov used to be brushed aside as nationwide safety minister by way of a presidential order in 2015. No respectable clarification used to be given for his elimination.

Now, caches of purchaser recordsdata hacked from the Cayman Nationwide Financial institution (Isle of Guy) Ltd (CNBIOM) in November 2019, and therefore revealed on-line, expose that Mahmudov’s circle of relatives has constructed up an estimated €100m trade and belongings empire.

Nearly all of its property had been got via corporations connected to Mahmudov’s son, Anar, 36, and his daughter, Nargiz Mahmudova, 31.

The recordsdata expose that during June 2016 a compliance supervisor at CNBIOM drafted an inner memo a few community of “hooked up entities” connected to Britannia Team Ltd that had been all Mahmudov corporations.

“I’ve severe considerations about this a/c [account] and total courting with out even having a look on the transactions,” the executive wrote. 

The next month, the financial institution filed a disclosure with the Monetary Intelligence Unit within the Isle of Guy, mentioning the territory’s Proceeds of Crime Act 2008.

Eldar Mahmudov, Azerbaijan’s former national security

Eldar Mahmudov, Azerbaijan’s former nationwide safety minister, used to be brushed aside by way of presidential order in 2015. : Pawel Kula/EPA

Between October 2014 and July 2015, the financial institution, primarily based within the Cayman Islands, famous Anar Mahmudov had made deposits price nearly £14m into Britannia Team Ltd’s accounts.

A joint investigation of the leaked knowledge by way of journalists from the Arranged Crime and Corruption Reporting Venture, Finance Exposed and Transparency Global displays that, some of the homes got by way of the siblings the usage of the “hooked up entities” known by way of CNBIOM, had been two workplace blocks in Poole and Bournemouth, valued at £13.5m.

The investigation additionally unearths that Anar Mahmudov holds the deeds to a four-storey belongings in Pont Boulevard, Knightsbridge, purchased for £17.35m.

Anar Mahmudov’s sweetheart’s mother, Zamira Hajiyeva, used to be famously discovered to have spent greater than £16m in Harrods. Her husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, the chairman of Azerbaijan’s state financial institution, used to be arrested for embezzlement in 2015 and later jailed.

After Hajiyev used to be charged and Eldar Mahmudov brushed aside, CNBIOM close down the Mahmudov-linked accounts. “It’s now necessary that there’s complete transparency and the supply of wealth for those investments is investigated,” stated Duncan Hame, Transparency Global UK’s Director of Coverage.

Legal professionals for Anar and Nargiz Mahmudov instructed Finance Exposed that the circle of relatives’s wealth will also be traced again to an ancestor, Aslan Ashurov, who made his fortune within the 19th century. They stated the siblings’ property had been all correctly registered and accounted for and that Anar Mahmudov used to be a a success businessman in his personal proper.

The cache of leaked paperwork integrated a letter explaining that Anar’s wealth used to be derived from his aunt, Elmira Mahmudova, who established an oil and building company in Baku.

The investigation discovered that the Mahmudovs additionally personal homes and corporations in Majorca, Luxembourg and Lithuania.

CNBIOM stated in a observation that “it’s mindful all the time of its tasks in regards to cash laundering… and has at all times cooperated absolutely with the government relating to suspicious transactions or prison or regulatory investigations.”

The Mahmudovs’ legal professional used to be approached by way of the Observer however didn’t reply.

Further reporting by way of James Dowsett and Claire Peters

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