TI Calls for an End to Anonymous Companies

Transparency International is urging the world’s richest nations to increase the transparency of beneficial owners of shell companies after a new investigation revealed that a Maltese bank was used to launder millions for the Azerbaijani ruling family, the organization stated in a press release Tuesday.

5856649637 230d651952 zThe Maltese Pilatus Bank has been linked to shell companies whose beneficial owners are members of the Azerbaijani ruling family. (Source: TaxRebate.org.uk, CC BY 2.0)The most recent story in The Daphne Project--an effort by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and its partners to finish the stories of murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Galizia Caruna-- revealed that the daughters of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev own a number of luxury properties in Dubai, purchased through shell companies with funds from accounts registered at Pilatus Bank in Malta.

The report was published the same day the Council of Europe’s independent investigation into corruption in the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) concluded that Azerbaijani “caviar diplomacy” was at play and implicated former members of PACE in what the body described as “corruptive activities.”

Pilatus Bank is currently under investigation for its lack of oversight and facilitation of money laundering and what Transparency International’s Global Advocacy director, Casey Kelso describes as “secretive kleptocratic transactions.”

The investigation follows the revelations in The Azerbaijani Laundromat project, which detailed how Azerbaijan used a US$2.9billion slush fund to buy influence in Europe, including parliamentarians’ votes against human rights criticism of Azerbaijan at the Council of Europe. 

Transparency International released a report last week with findings that G20 countries are not even meeting their own standards for financial crime prevention.

The Global Anti-Corruption Consortium is a groundbreaking partnership to accelerate the global fight against corruption by bringing together investigative journalism spearheaded by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and advocacy driven by Transparency International (TI), the global anti-corruption movement.