Former Head of International Bank Pleads Innocent to Charges

October 10th, 2016

cahangir

On 10 October 2016, Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Afgan Hajiyev held another hearing on the criminal case of the former chairman of the Board of Azerbaijan International Bank OJSC Jahangir Hajiyev and 7 other men.

At today’s hearing, defendant Ibrahim Huseynov, General Director of Inter Security LLC – the company responsible for the security of the International Bank’s administrative buildings, made his final speech.

Huseynov noted that the accusations of creating an organised group and misappropriating the bank’s funds as its member were totally untrue. He did not accept these allegations made in the indictment, and said that he had provided security services for the International Bank’s premises and materials on a contract basis. Huseynov stated that he had accounted to Bank’s Board members Akif Aliyev and Emin Mustafayev for the premises protected. He denied embezzling anything, and stressed that the loans taken in the name of the employees were spent on projects. Huseynov added that he had repaid the principals of those loans, and only interests remained to be paid off. He noted that, had they been an organised group, they would not have repaid the loans at all. Ibrahim Huseynov pleaded not guilty and asked the court to acquit him.

After that, defendant Jahangir Hajiyev made his final speech. “I was abroad when I was summoned on April 1 last year. But I came. The public prosecutor alleges that I came because I had been summoned as a witness, and that I could have well not come. But it is not quite like that. I would come and cooperate with the investigation in any case. The criminal case was launched on 2 May 2015, but it is clear to everyone that they had worked on this case for at least one month before actually initiating it. I am a person who has worked in this system for more than 20 years. I complied with the summons and they asked me to help recover the loans. The criminal case was launched on the basis of a letter of Emin Mustafayev, the first deputy chairman of the Board. Despite everything, I cooperated with the investigation. Much work was done for the repayment of the loans within a short time, including the repayment of the loans of the Bank’s Moscow branch, with the latter matter being discussed at the level of presidents during the Russian President’s visit to Baku. On the day the criminal case was initiated, i.e. on May 2, Azad Javadov was arrested. It marked the start of a terror unheard of not only in Azerbaijan, but in the neighbouring countries, too. Even today, 7,500 to 8,000 people are banned from leaving the country; most of them for a loan in the amount of 500 to 800 USD,” the former banker said.

Jahangir Hajiyev noted that his family members were also facing pressure. His sister was prohibited from travelling aboard, and ASAN Service refused to issue a document for her deceased mother’s property.

“There is no proof of misappropriation in this criminal case. The International Bank had a 25 million net income in 2014 alone. I handed over the bank in this condition. During the 15 years when I headed the bank, not a penny was taken from the state. But now, the bank has encountered profound problems. Under just one order of the president, 6 billion manat was allocated from the state budget. [During my time in charge] The Central Bank repeatedly carried out inspections. The Audit Committee consisted of the employees of the Ministry of Finance. All of them had access to the bank system. If there were any violations, why did they fail to reveal them,” Hajiyev asked.

“I am not asking, but recommending the court to acquit everyone, to return the case back, and to issue special rulings regarding the investigator and the prosecutor,” Hajiyev said in conclusion.

Thereafter, the court panel broke for deliberation. Presiding judge Afgan Hajiyev said he would announce the date of the next hearing.

Background: Former Chairman of the Board of Azerbaijan International Bank OJSC Jahangir Hajiyev was arrested on 5 December 2015. He is charged under Articles 179.3.1 and 179.3.2 (misappropriation of a large amount of money by an organised group), 308.2 (abuse of official powers resulting in serious consequences), 309.2 (exceeding officials powers resulting in serious consequences), 313 (service forgery), and 228.1 and 228.4 (illegal acquisition, transfer, selling, storage, transportation or carrying of a weapon, its accessories, ammunition or explosives) of the Criminal Code.

The defendants are accused of misappropriating 211 million AZN.

According to the indictment, defendant Azad Javadov is additionally charged under Article 228.4 (possession of cold weapon) of the Criminal Code due to possessing the dagger that was gifted to him.