This article was originally published by OCCRP
Some of the money that passed through the Azerbaijani Laundromat, a secret money laundering scheme and slush fund that saw €2.5 billion (US$ 2.9 billion) flow out of the country between 2012 and 2014, ended up in the hands of a purportedly private Azerbaijani organization that hired a Virginia firm to lobby the US government for more than a decade.
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has earlier reported that other monies from the fund were used to advance the Azerbaijani government’s political agenda, with some ending up in bank accounts belonging to European politicians who spoke highly of President Ilham Aliyev’s regime even as it arrested journalists and political activists. The precise origins of the funds are unknown, hidden behind secretive shell companies. But there is ample evidence that the authoritarian country’s ruling elite is behind them.