UK Freezes Azerbaijani Lawmaker’s £39m Properties

Published: 22 February 2024

Javanshir Feyziyev Wikim

Azerbaijani Lawmaker Javanshir Feyziyev (Photo:, Wikimedia, License)

By Kelly Bloss, Ben Cowdock

U.K. authorities have frozen 22 London properties that the Azerbaijani lawmaker Javanshir Feyziyev and his wife are suspected to have bought with “the proceeds of unlawful conduct,” a high court heard on Thursday.

The properties, which were bought for more than £39.5 million (US$50 million), were frozen following an order from a High Court in June 2023, according to title deeds obtained by OCCRP.

Feyziyev did not respond to requests to comment in time for publication, but the family’s lawyer sought to annul the freezing orders at the hearing on Thursday before judge Nigel Poole, arguing that the NCA had not followed due process and that there was “not a good arguable case that any of the property was obtained through unlawful conduct.”

The politician’s family has previously come under scrutiny from the U.K.’s National Crime Agency (NCA) for holding millions of pounds in bank accounts that the Agency said had come from an international money laundering scheme, uncovered by OCCRP in 2017, known as the “Azerbaijani Laundromat.”

In 2022, the U.K. seized  £5.6 million ($7.56 million) of those funds from accounts belonging to Feyziyev’s wife, eldest son Orkhan, and nephew Elman Javanshir.

The more recent freezing orders on properties bought by Feyziyev and his wife, which prevent them from selling or transferring the assets, were requested  because of “strong evidence” they were obtained through money laundering, according to the NCA.

In a document filed to the court, the Agency described “money flows of extraordinary complexity” that appeared to be accompanied by “inconsistent, false or fictitious descriptions,” and could be traced back to companies that had been found to be involved in money laundering.

The priciest properties among those frozen — two residences purchased for over  £26 million ($33.4 million) in the exclusive Chelsea Barracks complex —  were bought by Feyziyev in 2020 while British authorities were still investigating his wife, son and nephew in relation to the money laundering case.

The other frozen properties include an apartment overlooking Regent’s Park, as well as 19 newly built apartments in a development in North West London. Feyziyev bought those properties for more than £10 million ($13.7 million) between 2008 and 2018 and later transferred them to a trust for no fee.

In total, the frozen properties are now valued at over £50 million ($63 mln), according to the NCA.

Justice Poole will hand down a judgment on whether the properties are to remain frozen at a later date.

An Azerbaijani parliamentarian since 2010, Feyziyev also chaired a Azerbaijani-British working group on interparliamentary relations and co-chaired the EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee until 2022.

He left those positions several months after the U.K. court approved the forfeiture of more than £5.6 million from accounts belonging to his relatives. The judge cited “overwhelming evidence” that documents purporting to show the money had come from legitimate business transactions had been “entirely fictitious and were produced in order to mask the underlying money laundering activities of those orchestrating the accounts.”

According to a press statement from the family’s lawyer at the time, the family was disappointed with the forfeiture but “pleased” with the fact that £5.6 million were taken from them and not the £15.4 that the NCA had demanded. They also emphasized that the court had confirmed that neither ‘Javanshir Feyziyev or any of the Respondents have been engaged in corruption'.”

A 2017 OCCRP investigation exposing the Azerbaijani Laundromat revealed how the complex money laundering scheme had funneled some $2.9 billion from the former Soviet republic through four shell companies registered in the U.K. during a two-year period. The recipients of the money included at least three European politicians, a journalist who wrote stories friendly to the regime, businessmen who praised the government, as well as prominent Azerbaijanis with government positions or connections.

Two companies that used the same name as the major Azerbaijani pharmaceutical company Avromed, which was founded by Feyziyev, also received $138 million through the scheme, OCCRP found.

That investigation was the subject of a libel claim against OCCRP by Feyziyev, which was settled on agreed terms. He categorically denies involvement in money laundering or any unlawful activity.