The family of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev leads a charmed, glamorous life, thanks in part to financial interests in almost every sector of the economy. His wife, Mehriban, comes from the privileged and powerful Pashayev family that owns banks, insurance and construction companies, a television station and a line of cosmetics. She has led the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Azerbaijan’s pre-eminent charity behind the construction of schools, hospitals and the country’s major sports complex. Their eldest daughter, Leyla, editor of Baku magazine, and her sister, Arzu, have financial stakes in a firm that won rights to mine for gold in the western village of Chovdar and Azerfon, the country’s largest mobile phone business. Arzu is also a significant shareholder in SW Holding, which controls nearly every operation related to Azerbaijan Airlines ("Azal"), from meals to airport taxis. Both sisters and brother Heydar own property in Dubai valued at roughly $75 million in 2010; Heydar is the legal owner of nine luxury mansions in Dubai purchased for some $44 million. The president’s sister, Sevil Aliyeva, a longtime London resident, founded Space TV, a news and entertainment channel in Azerbaijan.
In the data
In 2005, President Aliyev's wife, Mehriban Aliyeva, was named as one of two managers of the Panamanian UF Universe Foundation, incorporated in 2003. Under a complex proposal submitted to Mossack Fonseca in 2005, UF Universe Foundation would have ultimate control of AtaHolding, a major Azeri conglomerate. The 2005 proposal named President Aliyev's three children in addition to other senior members of Azerbaijan's tax office as beneficiaries. Two secretive companies central to this proposal were established through Mossack Fonseca although it is unclear whether or not the proposal was ever adopted. The UF Universe Foundation was inactivated in January 2007, but in January 2014, its representative asked Mossack Fonseca to reactivate it. In addition, Aliyev's daughters controlled a Panama-incorporated company and two others in the British Virgin Islands. The Panamanian company held a significant stake in a consortium of companies exploring goldfields in Azerbaijan. Aliyev's sister was the sole shareholder and owner of a BVI company registered in December 2005. Registration records list her at an address in a West London neighborhood where average home prices touch $9 million.
The Aliyev family did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
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