The UK has been at the centre of a secret $3bn Azerbaijani money laundering and lobbying scheme, new leaked data reveals. Some of this money went to politicians and journalists, as part of an international lobbying operation to deflect criticism of Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, whose regime has been accused of serial human rights abuses, systemic corruption and rigging elections. Molly, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Economics and Monetary Affairs committee and committee of inquiry into the Panama Papers, said:

“The shocking revelations about the Azerbaijani Laundromat reveal once again that British claims to be a leader in transparency conceal a far grubbier reality. The relationship between UK companies and our murky offshore tax havens permit the world’s corrupt elite to indulge their extravagant lifestyles at public expense. They then use these ill gotten gains to buy political influence that prevents them from being held to account for human rights abuses and bad government.”

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