Wednesday, October 01, 2014


Azerbaijan

Leaked Data Names 130,000 Offshore Account Holders

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (second from left) and members of his family have been linked to money placed in offshore accounts. (file photo)
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (second from left) and members of his family have been linked to money placed in offshore accounts. (file photo)
A global journalistic investigation has revealed the names of 130,000 people from 170 nations who allegedly put their money in offshore accounts.

The leaked data was released on April 4 by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a Washington-based network of reporters in more than 60 countries, and major international media.

The list of accountholders includes connections to the wife of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov as well Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, his wife, and his daughters.

Michael Hudson, senior editor at the ICIJ, told RFE/RL unsuccessful efforts were made to contact Shuvalov's wife.

"His wife has a company in the British Virgin Islands. We tried to reach out to her for comment. She declined comment. So we don't know what the company was used for. Just because somebody has an offshore entity doesn't mean that they're necessarily up to something bad, but it raises questions about transparency: Why do you have the company? What kind of business is it doing? Is there money that has been moved from your home country offshore?"

Hudson gave details on Aliev accounts.

"What we found is that there were three British Virgin Islands companies that were set up in 2008 in the names of his daughters. They were 19 and 23 years old at the time. In the records, the person who's named as the director of the companies was a man named Hassan Gozal, who happens to be a corporate mogul whose business empire has won building contracts worth billions of dollars amid the president's massive building spree. We tried to reach the presidential family and we also tried to reach Mr. Gozal. We weren't able to get comments from either of them."

The ICIJ says some 2.5 million leaked documents reveal the secret channels the rich use to hide their wealth in tax havens.

A former chief economist for the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company has estimated more than $21 trillion could be hidden in offshore accounts.

Based on reporting by icij.org, dpa, guardian.co.uk, and spiegel.de

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