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UK Companies Allegedly Helped Prominent Azerbaijanis Launder $2.9Bln

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On Monday, the Guardian released a report claiming that several companies linked to Azerbaijani government members could have been involved in a money laundering scheme. The news outlet did not specify its sources, citing leaked confidential banking records only.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Anonymous sources cited by the Guardian claim that companies with connections to members of the Azerbaijani government and the country's largest bank appear to have run $2.9 billion through four UK companies in 2012-2014 to pay for lobbying and some services.

The four UK companies, Hilux Services, Polux Management, Metastar Invest and LCM Alliance were allegedly used to process the money.

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Two of the firms were registered in Scotland as Scottish limited partnerships (SLPs), which used to allow companies to keep their operations relatively opaque. Until June, SLPs had not been required by law to disclose identities of their beneficial owners.

The money was reportedly used to pay for luxury services and to remunerate lobbyists, including some former members of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly.

In the meantime the Guardian report states that the provenance of the funds is not completely clear, it also does not provide any direct link between the scheme and the family of the Azerbaijani leader.

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