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The Scottish firms that let money flow from Azerbaijan to the UK

Author: The Guardian, Published on: 4 September 2017

UK companies using an obscure Scottish business structure are at the centre of a multibillion-dollar operation to funnel cash out of Azerbaijan, an investigation by the Guardian has found. Scottish limited partnerships (SLPs), structures originally established in the early 1900s for farm holdings, acted as shell companies to channel $2.9bn (£2.2bn) from Azerbaijan into the UK where it was used to buy luxury goods and peddle political influence throughout Europe. The money was moved through the Glasgow-based companies Hilux Services LP and Polux Management LP via an Estonian branch of Danske Bank between 2012 and 2014, according to bank statements seen by the Guardian as part of a cross-border collaboration with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)...The majority of the companies formed in the past decade are registered to a handful of locations, with thousands of SLPs at the same mailbox addresses. Of the new companies set up between 2006 and 2017, 70% are registered to just 10 addresses in Scotland, a report by Transparency International and Bellingcat found. More than 800 SLPs are registered to the mailbox address in central Glasgow that Hilux Services and Polux Management listed as their business address.

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Related companies: Danske Bank