Source:Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (Sarajevo)
The President of oil-rich Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, has been compared to a Mafia crime boss in US diplomatic cables, and man analysts refer to him as a dictator. OCCRP looked deeper than those labels and found that the Aliyev family has systematically grabbed shares of the most profitable businesses in the country. Investigative reports by OCCRP and Radio Free Europe have revealed and more importantly proven for the first time that the ruling family has secret ownership stakes through offshore companies in the country's largest businesses, including banks, construction companies, gold mines and phone companies. The government Aliyev runs gave these shares. The family also has secretly amassed high-end property in places like the Czech Republic. The Azeri government responded to the revelations first with silence and now claims that OCCRP is an agent of the rival Armenian government. Aliyev's administration also failed to investigate the harassment and blackmail of OCCRP and RFE journalist Khadija Ismayilova earlier this year. While Azerbaijan has worked at improving its image worldwide, OCCRP's reporting makes clear that a petty dictatorship remains in control.