The Queen’s estate has launched an investigation after the Pandora papers revealed a £67 million relationship to the ruler of Azerbaijan.
THE QUEEN’S ESTATE has initiated an internal investigation after it was revealed that a £67 million London house was purchased from an Azerbaijani king accused of corruption.
The Pandora papers, which were published this evening, revealed details of the purported transaction. They claim that the family and allies of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev have exchanged £400 million worth of UK property through a network of offshore entities over the last 15 years.
The Queen’s Crown Estate is said to be one of his clients, having spent £66.5 million for 56-60 Conduit Street in August 2018.
According to reports, the eight-story office and retail building in London’s premium Mayfair sector was purchased from a British Virgin Islands-based business called Hiniz Trade & Investment.
According to papers published by The Guardian and BBC, Hiniz bought the building for £35.5 million in 2009.
The Pandora papers, according to the report, indicated how the firm was passed from the president’s daughter, Arzu Aliyeva, to her grandfather, Arif Pashayev, who subsequently put it under a trust in 2015.
According to reports, the hacked papers do not reveal the source of the monies that were first injected into Hiniz.
However, because it purportedly exposed the company’s shareholders – and how they were exchanged between members of Azerbaijan’s first family – it may raise issues about whether the transaction should be probed for money laundering concerns.
“The onward sale of any property that had originally been purchased with potentially dirty funds completes the money laundering cycle, by providing a fresh paper trail that effectively legitimizes the proceeds,” Dylan Kennedy, a former UK law enforcement officer and director of the financial due diligence company Intelpool, told the paper.
“In this situation, the sale of a property to the crown estate is the pinnacle of legitimization if the source of funding is revealed to be problematic.”
“We were presented with details of the ultimate beneficial owner of Hiniz Trade and Investment Limited, but no further ownership facts,” the crown estate said.
“Before we purchased [the building], we completed inspections including those needed by UK law,” a spokeswoman for the estate, which controls £15 billion in property assets, said.
“At the time, we couldn’t find any reason why the transaction shouldn’t go through.” We are investigating the topic in light of the potential concerns raised.” Azerbaijan has been ruled by Mr Aliyev. “Brinkwire News Summary.”