Azerbaijani government responds to Laundromat investigation

On 5 September, the Azerbaijani presidential press office issued a statement in response to an investigation released on 4 September alleging that the Azerbaijani government had used fictitious UK-based companies to launder $2.9 billion. The investigation was carried out by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), together with Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), Barron's (USA), Le Monde (France), The Guardian (UK), and Bivol (Bulgaria).

The statement says that neither the Azerbaijani president nor members of his family have anything to do with the report's claims.

"Attempts to link the president and his family to those things are groundless, biased and provocative," the statement said.

"We know that George Soros, who has gained a global image of swindler, fraud and liar, and his henchmen are behind it. George Soros's dirty affairs must be investigated thoroughly. The Armenian lobby, which collaborates with him, conducts a filthy campaign against the Azerbaijani president and members of his family. However, those attempts are fruitless. The fact that an Armenian woman - Dina Nagapetyan [sic.] – is one of the authors of the article published in the newspaper Guardian shows that the Armenian lobby stands behind those filthy accusations," the statement says. (Note: The Guardian journalist’s name is actually Dina Nagapetyants.)

According to the report, from 2012 to 2014, against a backdrop of mass arrests of activists and journalists in Azerbaijan, members of the ruling elite of the country used a secret slush fund to bribe European politicians, purchase luxury items, and launder money for other self-serving purposes.

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