Azerbaijani Laundromat: grand corruption and how to buy influence

Azerbaijani Laundromat: grand corruption and how to buy influence

On 8 September 2017, we updated our line about presenting evidence to the Council of Europe.

From the Global Anti-Corruption Consortium, a partnership between investigative journalists and anti-corruption activists.

When you have access to state coffers and your country sits on one of the biggest oil and gas reserves in the world, it is hardly surprising that the ruling elite can pretty much do what it wants, irrespective of what is good for its citizens.

That is the case in Azerbaijan. Human rights are routinely threatened and opposition to the government is crushed yet the elites flourish. Azerbaijan ranks 160 out of 180 on the Press Freedom Index and scores just 30 on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index indicating rampant corruption.

The Global Anti-Corruption Consortium

Investigative journalists from the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and Transparency International are working together to ensure that the corruption uncovered in investigations are followed up, the corrupt are held to account and loop-holes in regulations that enable corruption are closed.

More information here

A series of investigations across Europe, published on 4 September and led by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), has uncovered a network of illicit financial payments that used reputable banks and secret companies to funnel payments from a US$ 2.9 billion slush fund to buy political influence and launder Azerbaijan’s international image.

We want to put a stop to this. To do this we are focussing on the people, organisations and financial systems that allow this to happen. Senior politicians, businesses and the Council of Europe, the organisation whose very mandate is to monitor human rights, democracy and the rule of law in its 47 member states, are involved.

It is now apparent that some members of the Council of Europe were paid to vote down a highly critical report on Azerbaijan’s human rights record and election process. In addition, the investigations show how money was funnelled through secret companies in the UK and the Estonian branch of Denmark’s Danske Bank from an Azeri slush fund. 

Join our letter-writing campaign! Write to the parliamentarians of your country to ask them to come clean and help the independent investigators look into instances where there is a substantial reason to believe that bribery and corruption has taken place. TAKE ACTION NOW!

This is not surprising. Danske Bank was at the centre of a previous OCCRP investigation called the Russian Laundromat. And Denmark recently received a very poor rating by the Financial Action Task Force for its anti-money laundering procedures.

Transparency International is asking people to sign and send a letter to political representatives from their countries at the Council of Europe calling for a full investigation into the allegations and for sanctions of any wrongdoing.

Transparency International and its chapters will use the evidence gathered so far to do the following:

  • On 7 Sept 2017 Transparency International presented evidence to the special corruption investigative group at Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) asking for a full transparency investigation.
  • In the US, Transparency International will provide a dossier relating to the investigation with the US authorities since the International Bank of Azerbaijan is based in the United States.
  • Call on the authorities in the Czech Republic, Denmark and Germany to investigate the role of shell companies with secret ownership.
  • Push for public registers of beneficial ownership in countries that don’t already have them.
  • Call on the authorities to tighten and implement anti-money laundering procedures, particularly in Denmark.
  • Call for full investigations into those receiving “dirty money” at the international, regional and national levels to determine whether there was corruption and conflicts of interest.

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Foreign bribery rages unchecked in over half of global trade

There are many losers and few winners when companies bribe foreign public officials to win lucrative overseas contracts. In prioritising profits over principles, governments in most major exporting countries fail to prosecute companies flouting laws criminalising foreign bribery.

Ensuring that climate funds reach those in need

As climate change creates huge ecological and economic damage, more and more money is being given to at-risk countries to help them prevent it and adapt to its effects. But poorly governed climate finance can be diverted into private bank accounts and vanity projects, often leading to damaging effects.

Is Hungary’s assault on the rule of law fuelling corruption?

In June 2018, Hungary’s parliament passed a series of laws that criminalise any individual or group that offers help to an illegal immigrant. The laws continued worrying trends in the public arena that began with the rise to power of the Fidesz party in 2010. What are these trends, and what do they mean for the fight against corruption and the rule of law in Hungary?

Will the G20 deliver on anti-corruption in 2018?

This week, activists from civil society organisations all over the world gathered in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the sixth annual Civil 20 (C20) summit.

Returning Nigerians’ stolen millions

The stakes are high in the planned distribution of $322 million in stolen Nigerian public money.

Three priorities at the Open Government Partnership summit

Transparency International has been at the Open Government Partnership's global summit in Tbilisi, Georgia, pushing for action in three key areas.

Civil society’s crucial role in sustainable development

Key players in the development community are meeting in New York for the main United Nations conference on sustainable development, the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). Transparency International is there to highlight how corruption obstructs development and report on how effectively countries are tackling this issue.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media