MEPs call for investigation into 'Azerbaijani Laundromat' ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

$2.9 billion was allegedly laundered through Estonian banks betwen 2012-2014.
$2.9 billion was allegedly laundered through Estonian banks betwen 2012-2014. Source: (Reuters/Scanpix)

In a resolution adopted on Wednesday, members of the European Parliament called for an investigation into the Azerbaijani money laundering case, known also as the "Laundromat."

In relation to the revealing of the Azerbaijani money laundering case, MEPs in a resolution adopted on Wednesday strongly condemned the attempts of Azerbaijan and other authoritarian regime countries to influence European decision-makers through illicit means.

MEPs called for the European Parliament to conduct a comprehensive investigation and adopt strong measures for uprooting corruption.

MEPs said that corruption is one of the reasons for human rights violations which has seen the least amount of attention and the European Union should promote international cooperation in order to combat it.

In the name of this goal, the MEPs called for the EU, in addition to the human rights clause, to add an anti-corruption clause to the agreements to be signed with third countries, with the clauses demanding control, advising and implementation of clauses or termination of the agreement as a last measure in the event of serious and systematic corruption.

In addition, the MEPs are also demanding that constant monitoring of projects funded by the EU is carried out in cooperation with local anti-corruption agencies and independent organizations, and whistleblowers who reveal corruption cases are supported.

$2.9 billion laundered through Estonian banks

Estonian and international media have reported that, according to an international journalistic investigation, transactions from Estonian banks to Azerbaijani companies were made in the amount of approximately $2.9 billion between 2012-2014, during which money laundering and mediation of bribery may have taken place.

While a few dozen million dollars per year were transferred from Azerbaijan to non-residents in Estonia in the late 2000s, the sum jumped to approximately $800 million in 2012 and $1.7 billion in 2013.

Transactions from Estonia were made from accounts of businesses registered in the U.K., the owners of which found solace in tax havens in the Marshall Islands, Belize and the British Virgin Islands. Representatives of the companies formalizing the opening of the accounts with Danske Bank in Estonia were Azerbaijanis living in Baku and were not themselves the actual beneficiaries of the firms.

Azerbaijani president denies reports of money laundering

The press service of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has denied reports by foreign media and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on the use of shell companies by Azerbaijani authorities to launder $2.9 billion to European politicians in order to protect the interests of Azerbaijan.

"Neither the Azerbaijani president nor his family have anything to do with the aforementioned accusations," the press service stated last week. "Attempts to involve the president and his family in these issues are groundless and have a provocative character."

According to the press service, American investor and business magnate George Soros and Armenian lobbying are behind the articles on the issue appearing in foreign media. The press service also asserted that the campaign against the Azerbaijani president is futile.

"We know that George Soros, who has the reputation of a fraud, forger, crook and liar, and his henchmen are behind everything aimed against Azerbaijan and its leadership," the representatives claimed. "Soros' dirty deeds should be seriously investigated."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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