Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan Enacts Law to Support Former Aliyev Son-In-Law’s Luxury ‘Dream Liner’

Azerbaijan’s First Family Expands Wealth Through Dubious Means

The first family of Azerbaijan, headed by autocratic President Ilham Aliyev, has been accused of amassing significant wealth through two generations of dynastic leadership. Reports suggest that regime insiders have utilized methods such as shell companies, graft, and leveraging key permits to increase their fortunes across various economic sectors.

A recent investigation by RFE/RL revealed that Emin Agalarov, a former son-in-law of President Aliyev and scion of a Russian oligarch, is benefiting from a new Azerbaijani law that aims to legalize his ambitious Caspian Dream Liner project. This project involves the creation and exploitation of artificial land along the Caspian seaside, facilitated by legislation signed by President Aliyev in May.

The law, titled “On The Creation Of Artificial Land Plots In The Section Of The Caspian Sea (Lake) Belonging To The Republic Of Azerbaijan,” appears to provide exemptions for developers like Agalarov from rent or lease payments on their projects. Despite concerns about environmental impact assessments and approval processes, the new law has paved the way for Agalarov to proceed with his ambitious development plans.

Agalarov, who is a key figure in his father’s Russian-based construction and development company, Crocus Group, has been actively promoting the Dream Liner project, a luxury apartment complex shaped like a cruise ship. The project, expected to cost between $200 million and $250 million, has attracted interest from potential buyers and investors despite the lack of adequate approvals and documentation.

Critics have raised concerns about the lack of transparency and regulatory oversight surrounding such projects, pointing to past cases like the failed Khazar Islands development, which faced financial and regulatory challenges. However, supporters of the new legislation argue that it is necessary to attract investment and stimulate economic growth in Azerbaijan, particularly in the wake of conflicts and geopolitical tensions in the region.

As Azerbaijani authorities continue to court investors and promote development projects, questions remain about the accountability and legality of initiatives led by powerful figures like Agalarov. The interconnected interests of political elites, business tycoons, and foreign investors highlight the complex dynamics shaping Azerbaijan’s economic landscape and the blurred lines between legitimate business practices and questionable dealings.

Despite the controversies surrounding the First Family’s business dealings, the allure of lucrative projects and exclusive real estate developments continues to attract attention from both domestic and international investors. As Azerbaijan seeks to position itself as a hub for luxury tourism and high-end real estate, the implications of unchecked development and regulatory loopholes raise concerns about the long-term sustainability and integrity of the country’s economic growth.

 

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