Where Did the Money Go?

With reporting by OCCRP and partners

The Azerbaijani Laundromat is the name journalists gave to two years’ worth of records from four accounts at the Danske Bank branch in Tallinn, Estonia. The records, leaked to the Danish newspaper Berlingske and shared with OCCRP, detail what happened to nearly US$ 3 billion routed through a maze of transactions designed to obscure what was going on.

The records provide a rare snapshot of where the money came from, where it went, who was involved and how it was spent. Not all details can be clearly seen, but the overall picture is crystal clear.

Some of the transactions traced below were perfectly legitimate, if unusual: payment for services rendered by law-abiding companies who may not have realized that the payee was a front company for hidden owners. Other transactions are more suspect, such as wildly expensive airline tickets or trips that cost many thousands more than you’d expect.

Reporters tried hard to contact all parties named in the records. In some cases, companies had folded; in others, principals are facing criminal charges. Some said they didn’t remember, or denied all knowledge of the companies that sent out or received the money.

Many of those involved are citizens of Azerbaijan, often linked in some way to Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev’s family or clique of friends and business associates. Others are foreign politicians, sports figures, service providers or even governments.

It is unknown how many of these laundromats continue to spin today.

Azerbaijani officials and families

Ali Nagiyev

Ali Nagiyev received €25,000 (US$32,642) in a Czech account from Metastar Invest between December 2012 and July 2013.

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AME Holding S.R.O.

AME Holding S.R.O. received $1,249,000 from Metastar Invest in July and August 2013 for construction equipment.

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Johns Hopkins Medicine

John Hopkins Medicine received $12,151 from Metastar Invest in 2012 and 2013 for Yaqub Eyyubov, the first deputy prime minister of Azerbaijan, and his son Emin Eyyubov, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to the Council of Europe.

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Northern Pharmacy

Northern Pharmacy received $2,112.70 from Metastar Invest in 2012 for medicine for Emin Eyyubov, Azerbaijan’s Ambassador with the Council of Europe and the son of the first deputy prime minister of Azerbaijan.

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Velasco International Inc.

Velasco International received more than $9 million (€ 7 million) between 2012 and 2013 from Metastar Invest in accounts opened in Hungary and Cyprus.

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Ilham and Ilgar Nagiyev

Brothers Ilham and Ilgar Nagiyev were popular with Metastar Invest. Ilham Nagiyev received $255,732 in Czech and British accounts from Metastar between August 2012 and July 2013.

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A Romanian trading company called SC SNL SRL received €234,000 ($310,442) from Hilux Services in 2013 for pipes and furniture.

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Improtex Group

The family of Fizuli Alakbarov, the former president of Improtex Group, received more than $1 million from Metastar Invest in 2012-2013, according to the leaked banking records.

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Business & Leisure Travel Advisors

Business & Leisure Travel Advisors received $130,400 in 2013 from Metastar Invest for an educational field trip to the US for Azer Gasimov.

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Ericsson AB

Ericsson AB, the Swedish telecommunications company that says it has customers in more than 180 countries, received €4,301,650 ($5,521,512.16) from LCM Alliance at the start of April 2013.

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Hewlett-Packard Europe

Hewlett-Packard Europe BV received $1,435,518 from Hilux Services, LCM Alliance and Polux Services over the course of 2013 for equipment.

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Al Fida International General Trading

Brothers Ilham and Ilgar Nagiyev were popular with Metastar Invest. Ilham Nagiyev received $255,732 in Czech and British accounts from Metastar between August 2012 and July 2013.

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The Ukrainian subsidiary OJSC ArcelorMittal Kryviy RIH received $18,770,412 from LCM Alliance, Hilux Services and Metastar Invest between 2012 and 2014.

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Hamza Karimov

Hamza Karimov, since 2007 the head of SOCAR Petroleum Romania, received €125,800 ($159,750) in his Romanian account from Metastar Invest in August 2012 and April 2013.

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Rashad Gafarov

Rashad Gafarov, a Azerbaijani businessman who owned businesses in the Czech Republic, sent LCM Alliance €54,900 ($71,043) from his personal account at a Czech bank, allegedly for construction materials.

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Biloxi Global Inc.

Biloxi Global received $3.06 million from Hilux Services in 2013 for services. Over the course of 2014, Biloxi then sent $882,000 back to Hilux as reimbursements for cancelled services.

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Hamid Karimov

Hamid Karimov sent Metastar Invest €24,500 ($31,826) on June 11, 2013, but the purpose of the payment is unclear.

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Infocrest LLP

Infocrest LLP received $55,658,936 from LCM Alliance and Metastar Invest in 2012 and 2013.

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Jovdat Guliyev

Jovdat Guliyev received £479,212 ($644,274) from Hilux Services and Polux Management in 2013 and 2014 for services.

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Mayfair Investcorp Ltd

Mayfair Investcorp Ltd. received $1,616,672.86 from LCM Alliance in 2012.

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Riverlane LLP

Riverlane LLP received $83,573,625.21 from and sent $73,876,577 to Polux Management, Hilux Services, Metastar Invest and LCM Alliance between 2012 and 2013 for construction materials and equipment.

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AvroMed Company LLP

AvroMed Company LLC, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Azerbaijan, has the same name as the second-biggest beneficiaries of the Azerbaijani Laundromat.

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Sanctioned companies



Foreign governments

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