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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. The story of how that came about stretches back to 2002, when the company was founded by Nicolaie and Liudmila Scerban.
Scerban told OCCRP reporters that the money he received in 2013 came from Mahir Aslanov, now a member of the Azerbaijani parliament.
Since the early 1990s, Aslanov had bought furniture from Romanian producers using Tehnoforest Export, a local trader. Scerban, a trader, said he had sold furniture to Aslanov. “He was buying furniture from Romania and selling it in his stores in Baku,” Scerban recalls.
In 2002, Aslanov and Scerban established the Nico & Kapaz SRL transport company in Romania. Aslanov also owned a Kapaz Group in Azerbaijan. “The idea was to buy the trucks in Romania and transport the furniture to Azerbaijan,” Scerban said. “It never happened. The company was shut down.”
But Aslanov continued to buy furniture from Romania.
Eleven years later, he bought an allotment of furniture for €234,000. This time, the payment came from the Hilux accounts. Scerban delivered the furniture in Baku to the Kapaz Group, founded and controlled by Aslanov.
“The goods were invoiced to the Kapaz Group, not to Hilux, and we signed the contract with Kapaz, not Hilux,” Scerban said. “I don’t care where the money comes from. My interest is [in] getting paid.”.
He promised to search all the documents related to this deal but he did not answer any more calls.
Reached by telephone, Aslanov said he formerly had some dealings with Scerban, but not since 2010. He said that’s all in the past, and told a reporter that if he wanted to confirm such information, the reporter should come to Azerbaijan. (SNL7_)
Aslanov’s Kapaz Group operates hotels, restaurants, furniture sales and a transport company, according to local media reports. One of his sons, Mahammadali Aslanov, was director of the management board of The Bank of Azerbaijan.