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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. The group’s companies are involved in the automotive, tourism, and other industries.
Alakbarov was appointed Minister for Labor and Social Protection in 2006. At that time he handed over his company to his wife, Irada, and served as minister until 2013, when social unrest in Azerbaijan’s Ismayilli region, which was governed by his brother Nizami Alakbarov, erupted in mass protests.
Opposition politician Ilgar Mammadov was arrested shortly after the protests and accused of inciting riots in the region. He was convicted and sentenced to jail in March 2014, where he remains despite numerous protests from the international community.
Mammadov’s supporters say that he was targeted because he was planning to run against President Ilham Aliyev in 2013. Shortly before his arrest, he had alleged in a blog post that the Alakbarov family owned many businesses in the region including a hotel in the center of the town of Ismayilli that was torched during the riot by angry citizens.
Fizuli Alakbarov’s daughters, Nigar and Gunel, received a total of $1,368,455,79 through Metastar Invest. The transfers were made in the form of monthly payments to each.
Both Fizuli and Nizami Alakbarov lost their jobs in the wake of the Ismayilli riots. Between 2010 and 2012, they awarded 13 public contracts worth 63,988,384 AZM (approximately $82,036,390) to a construction company called Vafi Region MMC owned by Fizuli Alakbarov’s son, Vugar. Later on, the name of the company was changed to Construction Plus.
The Alakbarov brothers continue in business. None of the allegations have been investigated.