The children of Azerbaijan's former security chief have acquired a number of a luxury properties in Britain, including a $21 million home in London, an investigation revealed.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev fired National Security Minister Eldar Mahmudov in 2015. No reason was given for his dismissal by the authorities in the oil-rich, ex-Soviet republic.
Now, customer files hacked from the Cayman National Bank in November 2019, and then published online, reveal that Mahmudov's family has built an estimated $111 million business and property empire.
A joint investigation of the leaked data by reporters from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, Finance Uncovered, and Transparency International shows that nearly all the assets were acquired through companies linked to Mahmudov's son, Anar, 36, and his daughter, Nargiz Mahmudova, 31.
Among the properties acquired by the siblings were office blocks in the coastal towns of Poole and Bournemouth valued at around $16.7 million, according to the investigation.
The investigation also revealed that Anar Mahmudov holds the deeds to a four-story property bought for around $21.4 million in Knightsbridge, an upscale neighborhood in London.
In 2018, Anar Mahmudov's mother-in-law, Zamira Haciyeva, who lived in London, was found to have spent more than $21 million at the luxury store Harrods over a decade.
In February, Haciyeva lost her appeal against a court order to reveal the source of her money. She was the target of Britain’s first unexplained wealth order (UWO).
Lawyers for Anar and Nargiz Mahmudov told Finance Uncovered that the family's wealth can be traced back to an ancestor, Aslan Ashurov, who made his fortune in the 19th century.
They said the siblings' assets were all properly registered and accounted for.
The investigation also found that the Mahmudovs also own properties and companies in Spain, Luxembourg, and Lithuania.