Aliyevs’ businesses in Georgia (Part II)

The second part of the investigative piece on President Ilham Aliyev’s hidden business interests in Georgia explores Aliyevs’ stake in Georgia’s banking sector. The Azerbaijani first family holds strategic control over one of the largest banks in Georgia. However, recent changes within the bank's ownership structure suggest a possible rift within the extended family.

Pasha Bank in Georgia                                                       

Pasha Bank Georgia is located in a beautiful historic building in the city center of Tbilisi on Shoto Rustaveli Street 15. According to the National Agency of Public Registry website operated by the Ministry of Justice, Pasha Bank Georgia was founded by Pasha Bank OJSC incorporated in Azerbaijan.

The official records indicate that Pasha Bank OJSC stakeholders held a general meeting on October 22, 2012 where they decided to establish Pasha Bank Georgia. Pasha Bank Georgia’s initial capital was 35 million laris (14.5 million dollars). The bank was incorporated on December 12, 2012.

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva’s uncle Mir Jamal Pashayev holds 60% stake in Pasha Bank OJSC, while Ilham Aliyev’s daughter Arzu owns 30%. The remaining 10% is held by the President’s father-in-law, Arif Jalal Pashaeyv. Mir Jamal Pashayev is the son of the former Azerbaijani Ambassador to the US and the current rector of the Azerbaijani Diplomatic Academy, Hafiz Pashayev.

Arzu Aliyeva is also the director of Ador LLC. Investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova, who is currently serving a 7.5-year sentence on charges of embezzlement and tax evasion, revealed Ador LLC’s links to the first family’s extended family. Arif Pashayev owns 10% of Pasha Bank’s shares, whereas Jamal Pashayev holds 60% stake in Ador LLC.

Although the shareholder meeting records listed Arzu Aliyeva as the 30% stakeholder of Pasha Bank, the company’s 2013 annual return indicated that Arzu Aliyeva owns 45% of Pasha Bank’s shares, and Aliyev’s older daughter Leyla owns 45%. The remaining 10% belongs to Arif Pashayev.

One may suggest that the fact that the majority shares were transferred from the Pashayevs to Ilham Aliyev’s daughters may indicate a split in the President’s extended family. Aliyev may have distanced his relatives from the largest holdings in Azerbaijan to make room for his daughters and assume full control over Pasha Holding.

It is noteworthy that Pasha Bank Georgia does not provide individual or small business banking services. The bank only serves large companies or Azerbaijani businesses operating in Georgia. According to a report retrieved via the official Pasha Bank Georgia website dated December 2014, Pasha Holding’s assets were estimated at around 3 billion euros.

The following document from Pasha Bank OJSC’s extraordinary shareholder meeting held on October 22, 2012 states the following:

Participants

Shareholders:

  1. Arif Mir Jalal Pashayev (address: U.Hajibayov Street, Building 27, Apartment 46; ID number AZE N 02024562, issued on 09.06.2004 by the Sabail District Police Station) owns 10% (1,000 shares) of share capital;
  2. Mir Jamal Hafiz Pashayev, the director of Pasha Holding, owns 60% (6,000 shares) (registered on November 1, 2006 by the Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan under registration number 0106-P267-47064; legal address - L.Tolstoy Street 170, Baku).
  3. Arzu Ilham Aliyeva, the director of Ador LLC (registered by the Ministry of Taxes of Azerbaijan on May 19, 2008 under registration number 1700871041; legal address - Samad Vurgun Street, house #7, Sabail District, Baku) owns 30% (3,000 shares).

Mir Jamal Hafiz Pashayev and Arzu Ilham Aliyeva were unanimously elected as the chair and the secretary of the meeting.

Chair: M.H. Pashayev

Secretary: A.I. Aliyeva

The protocol of the extraordinary annual meeting of Pasha Bank’s shareholders.

 

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