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

Austria’s Strache affair and the undue influence toolkit

A week ago, German newspapers published evidence of the former Vice-Chancellor of Austria and a colleague apparently negotiating corrupt deals with the purported niece of a Russian oligarch close to President Vladimir Putin. The scandal illustrates the tools and methods used by those who wish to enrich themselves from public funds and advance private interests over the public good.

Why corruption matters in the EU elections

What voters should know as they head to the polls.

Four ways the G20 can take the lead on anti-corruption

The globalisation of world trade and finance has been accompanied by an internationalisation of corruption. The G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group therefore has the potential to be a very important partner in the fight for a more just world.

Venezuela: Se necesitan instituciones sólidas para abordar la delincuencia organizada

La corrupción en las más altas esferas del Gobierno venezolano ha causado inestabilidad social y económica extrema y ha debilitado a las instituciones estatales que deberían proteger a la ciudadanía. Las redes de delincuencia organizada actúan con impunidad en todo el país.

Venezuela: Strong institutions needed to address organised crime

Corruption in the top echelons of the Venezuelan government has led to extreme instability and weak state institutions, and allows organised crime networks to act with impunity all across the country.

The trillion dollar question: the IMF and anti-corruption one year on

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has made public commitments and adopted a new framework to address corruption - we check how the IMF is progressing with this one year later.

Three years after the Panama Papers: progress on horizon

The explosive Pulitzer Prize-winning global media project known as the "Panama Papers" turned three years old, and there are many reasons to celebrate.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media