UK aims to seize £ 15million from family of Azeri politician

UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) seeks to seize £ 15million ($ 20.5million) from bank accounts belonging to the wife, son and nephew of influential Azerbaijani politician Javanshir Feyziyev . The agency believes the money was laundered through a massive money transfer scheme discovered in 2017 by the OCCRP.

Javanshir Feyziyev in a screenshot from a promotional video of AvroMed, an Azerbaijani pharmaceutical company he co-founded. (Credit: YouTube)Neither Feyziyev nor his family members are charged with any crime. But in civil proceedings on Monday, an NCA lawyer presented a detailed analysis to support the agency’s argument that the money had passed through the Azerbaijani laundromat.

The agency argued that the source of the funds “must have been illegal” as they had been rooted out of Azerbaijan through several shell companies using fraudulent documents to conceal their origins.

“Corruption, theft, fraud and money laundering are the likely explanation,” the NCA argued.

Feyziyev is a member of parliament and is considered an associate of the authoritarian President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. He was instrumental in the country’s efforts to put pressure on the European Union.

Of the 15 million pounds, 7.86 million is held by Feyziyev’s wife Parvana Feyziyeva and 6.4 million by her son Orkhan Javanshir. The pair had invested some of that money in the UK’s investment visa program to secure the possibility of living in the country.

A smaller portion of the total, just over £ 1 million, is owned by Feyziyev’s nephew Elman Javanshir.

But the case centers on Feyziyev himself, the NCA said, “because the funds sought to be confiscated largely came from bank accounts under his control.”

In a statement sent to the media, a spokesperson for the Feyziyev family said they “categorically refute the NCA case”, describing it as “fundamentally flawed”. The agency provided “no substantial evidence that the funds in question came from any source involving a criminal offense,” the spokesperson said, adding that “the family have complete confidence in the UK justice system and looks forward to the NCA’s claim being exposed as unworthy.

In his case, the NCA makes several references to previous OCCRP reports on Feyziyev. The 2017 investigation revealed that two companies using the same name as a large Azerbaijani pharmaceutical company founded by Feyziyev received $ 138 million from the Azerbaijani laundromat.

The story was the subject of a libel complaint by Feyziyev, which was settled on agreed terms. Feyziyev categorically denies any involvement in money laundering or any illegal activity.