Weekly news – 3 August 2018
Remember the Azerbaijani Laundromat? The network of illicit payments from a US$2.9 billion slush fund that sought to buy Azerbaijan political influence in Europe and launder the international image of the country’s authoritarian regime?
This week we’ve seen belated signs of action against the institutions that facilitated this, and details of how Azerbaijan’s murky influence machine specifically targeted UK lawmakers.
Much of the funds in the Azerbaijani Laundromat were deposited into bank accounts held by UK shell companies at the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest bank.
A recent data leak suggests that up to US$8.3 billion may have been laundered through the branch.
This week the Office of Prosecutor General of Estonia said it will investigate. This comes after a complaint was filed in relation to the Magnitsky fraud case, which the branch is also implicated in (along with the Russian Laundromat).
Also this week, a Transparency International report from the UKrevealed that at least £333,000 (approx. US$434,000) was spent on flights and accommodation for British parliamentarians to visit Azerbaijan between 2007 and 2017. The Azerbaijan government or lobbyists and institutions connected to the regime paid for 84 per cent of these trips.
One UK Member of Parliament even co-authored promotional material about Azerbaijan with an executive from the country’s state oil company.
Developed countries need to step up their enforcement of anti-money laundering rules, and make it harder for corrupt regimes to secretly funnel their cash into the economy.
They also need to make sure parliaments have integrity measures in place to protect against corruptive influence from known offenders.
News from Transparency International
The stakes are high in the planned distribution of US$322 million in stolen Nigerian public money.
Registration is now open for the upcoming International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC), which will take place from 22-24 October in Copenhagen, Denmark.
We are delighted to offer discounted Early Bird rates until 10 September 2018. Participation is limited – so secure yours and register as soon as possible!
New on Voices For Transparency
The Prosecutor General of Estonia will investigate Danske Bank’s Estonian branch for alleged involvement in international money laundering. It took four years and persistent international pressure for the Estonian authorities to launch a criminal investigation.
Three decades of negligence and corruption have fuelled a bitter dispute between a wealthy family from Mombasa and the community of an impoverished island in the Indian Ocean.
Source: Transparency International
Much of the funds in the Azerbaijani Laundromat were deposited into bank accounts held by UK shell companies at the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest bank. A recent data leak suggests that up to US$8.3 billion may have been laundered through the branch.