Aliyev Family’s Financial Role in Shipping Weapons to Terrorists
Posted 18 July 2017 - 12:53 PM
Last week I wrote about the sensational revelations by Bulgarian investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva in Trud newspaper, who reported on leaked documents that Azerbaijans state-run Silk Way Airlines has shipped under diplomatic cover 350 planeloads of heavy weapons and ammunition to terrorist groups around the world during the last three years.
A report by Radio Free Europes (RFE) Azeri investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova, who has been jailed for her disclosures of Azerbaijan governments human rights abuses, has revealed in a 2010 report on President Ilham Aliyevs daughter, Arzu Aliyevas part ownership of a company that is linked to Silk Way Airlines. This fact explains how the airline managed to get all the diplomatic clearances to ship such large quantities of weapons to terrorists.
It turns out that Silk Way Airlines belongs to SW Holding, a group of companies that enjoys a near-complete monopoly of airline service, including mid-flight meals served by Sky Catering, and taxi service run by Airport Gate, both of which are owned by SW Holding. In addition, technical maintenance of the national carriers planes and helicopters are carried out by Silkway Technics, and multiple other companies controlling everything from Traveler assistance to ticket sales to duty-free stores are all owned by SW Holding, according to Ismayilova.
SW Holding also owns Silk Way Bank, which is owned by President Aliyevs then 21-year old daughter Arzu Aliyeva and Zarifa Hamzayeva, wife of president of Azerbaijans AZAL state airline company, according to RFEs Azerbaijani service. Silk Way Airlines is also a part owner of the Silk Way Bank.
Interestingly, Ismayilova reports that the rise of SW Holding, which has seamlessly absorbed many of AZALs former businesses, has raised questions about dubious privatization practices in Aliyevs Azerbaijan. It also serves to underscore how the political elite continues to use close friends and family members to preserve its hold on the countrys most valuable assetsdespite Azerbaijani laws that list nepotism by state officials as an offense punishable by up to 12 years in jail.
President Ilham Aliyev is simply continuing the practice started by his father Heydar Aliyev, who after ruling Azerbaijan for two decades passed the Presidential baton to his son. In a constitutional referendum in 2009, term limits on the President were abolished making Ilham Aliyev President for Life. Not to take any chances, he recently appointed his wife, Mehriban Aliyeva, as Vice President, to become his possible successor.
As I had reported earlier, based on an article in The Washington Post, President Aliyevs preteen son, Heydar, was the legal owner of nine luxury mansions in Dubai purchased for $44 million. Presidents two daughters, Arzu and Leyla, also own property in Dubai. The three children together own property in Dubai worth $75 million. Obviously this is not money they earned nor did their parents. President Aliyevs annual salary is $230,000. Ismayilova estimates President Alyevs wealth to be in tens of millions of dollars. This is surely an underestimate, given the lack of concrete figures. However, just the fact that Aliyevs three children own property in Dubai worth $75 million, President Aliyevs wealth could be safely estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars if not in the billions of dollars! Contrary to Azerbaijani law, neither President Aliyev nor his wife have declared their net worth.
Under Azerbaijani law, public officials are prohibited from owning businesses, while family members are exempt from this restriction, a loophole exploited by the Aliyevs to hide their earnings in their childrens holdings. Just Arzu Aliyevas part ownership of the Silk Way Bank is worth over $12 million. According to RFE, presidential secretary Azer Gasimov confirmed that Arzu Aliyeva was one of the owners of the Silk Way Bank.
Gulu Khalilov, the spokesperson for the State Committee on Privatization of State Property, told RFE that he had no information on the privatization of AZAL, the state airline company, including its holdings, like AZAL Bank. RFE was told that none of the legal procedures for privatization were followed.
In the meantime, SW Holding has slowly but steadily acquired nearly all of AZALs former companies, including the insurance firm AZAL Sigorta, which is now co-owned by SW Holding and the two daughters of Jahangir Asgarov, the president of AZAL and the husband of Zarifa Hamzayeva, the current co-owner of Silk Way Bank, according to Ismayilova. SW Holding has also been the sole contractor on a number of high-profile AZAL projects, including airport-construction deals in Lankaran, Ganja, and Zagatala worth a total of $150 million.
President Aliyev and his family must be held responsible as part owners of a state-run airline that ships sophisticated weapons to terrorists around the world.
- onjig likes this
Posted 18 July 2017 - 11:14 PM
Ah bo, that is a good bit of information to be all in one place. I would think that it could be a problem for the Aliyevs should it get to the right ears or eyes, it's in print now.
I just looked at his, Aliyev's picture~he's a bit of an ugly bastard isn't he~
Let's see, if now that this rat stashing is gathered and in print, if he's able to dance happily along or if it causes some dire problems in the near future.
Thanks for posting that I wasn't aware, maybe,if this is known by the many living less than well in Azerbaijan, dislike him more and would like to something about it.
Posted 19 July 2017 - 08:27 AM
Nothing will happen as long they have the support of those who send the weapons using their air lines, plus the oil interests. Any other country with this kind of corruption would have been taken care off, without the behind the scene help. Double standards.
- onjig likes this
Posted 19 July 2017 - 04:25 PM
- MosJan and onjig like this
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