Azerbaijani Laundromat: a scandal made in Europe
European measures to tackle money laundering have again been shown to be grossly inadequate in light of the Azerbaijani Laudromat scandal according to GUE/NGL MEP Fabio De Masi.
Autocratic Azeri president Ilham Aliyev and his family’s corrupt dealings and transfers of illicit funds through European banks were exposed by the Global Anti-Corruption Consortium – a partnership between investigative journalists and anti-corruption activists – earlier this week.
Commenting on the scandal, De Masi – Shadow Rapporteur for the anti-money laundering directive and Vice-Chair of the Panama Papers Inquiry Committee into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion at the European Parliament – said:
“This latest scandal once again lays bare the shortcomings of the current European money laundering law and its patchy transposition.”
“At the heart of the Azerbaijani Laundromat, we have four British letter box companies which were filled with illicit funds that had come via the Estonian branch of Denmark’s Danske Bank.”
“The dirty money also found its way into Germany: the pro-Azerbaijani lobby of the former CSU politician, Eduard Lintner, for example, received about 820 000 euros,” said the German MEP.
“What we therefore need are publicly accessible registers of beneficial owners of letter box companies and trusts, as well as dissuasive sanctions in the case of breaches of money laundering laws. Both the UK and German governments have to stop blocking these measures in the Council because the only ones they are protecting are gangsters, tax cheats and corrupt people,” he concluded.