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

Support Us

New Report: Who is behind the wheel? Fixing the global standards on company ownership

To counter crime and corruption, law enforcement authorities around the world need to be able to swiftly uncover the identities of the real owners of companies. Transparency International argues that public registers of beneficial ownership should be the norm.

هل سيشعل الفساد المستشري فتيل الخريف العربي؟

خلال الشهرين الماضيين، اجتاحت موجة من الاحتجاجات شوارع مصر والعراق ولبنان. وبلغ عدد المحتجين الذين نزلوا إلى الشوارع في لبنان أكثر من مليون شخص ينددون بالظلم، وكان ذلك غالبا في تحدّ للقمع العنيف الذي تمارسه السلطات. وعلى الرغم من اختلاف المطالب التي نادى بها المحتجون في البلدان الثلاثة، بل تختلف حتى فيما بين الحركات في نفس البلد، إلا أن هذا الغضب العارم قام على قاسم مشترك بينها: الفساد وسوء الإدارة المالية للحكومات.

Will rampant corruption spark an Arab Autumn?

A common factor has underpinned mass protests in Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon over the past two months: outrage over corruption and financial mismanagement by governments.

Better blending: how the World Bank can promote transparency in financing sustainable development

As the World Bank holds its annual meetings in Washington D.C this week, Transparency International is calling for greater transparency, accountability and participation in the World Bank’s contribution to financing the 2030 Agenda.

Fighting corruption in the age of “fake news”

"Fake news" has become a major threat to public trust in democracy and news media outlets over the past years. The fight against corruption is also affected.

Right to information: a tool for people power

Globally, approximately 120 countries have right to information laws. In some countries, these laws are top notch, but in others, the laws either don’t exist or need significant improvements. On International Right to Know Day, citizens are speaking out around the world to demand greater accountability from government. But are most people even aware of their right to request information in the first place?

Global Corruption Barometer - Latin America and the Caribbean 2019

The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Latin America & Caribbean highlights the disproportionate effect that corruption has on women and a significant lack of political integrity among government leaders.

Mujeres y corrupción en Latinoamérica y el Caribe

A lo largo de la última década, cada vez más mujeres de Latinoamérica y el Caribe han alzado la voz en reclamo de igualdad de derechos para las mujeres y las niñas.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media