Baku. Etibar Mammadov – APA. Baku Court of Grave Crimes on Monday continued the trial of the former chairman of the board of the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA) Jahangir Hajiyev and seven more people arrested alongside him.
Accused Ibrahim Huseynov, ex-director of Inter Security LLC, in his final statement pleaded not guilty.
“I’m not a member of any organized group, nor do I have anything to do with the bank’s credit affairs and their management. I have only been in charge of security on the basis of contract,” said Huseynov. “I have submitted reports in this regard to Emil Mustafayev and Akif Aliyev, members of the bank’s Board. The loans taken in the employees’ names were spent on projects and these loans have already been paid off. Only the interest rates remain. If so, how come we’re accused of embezzlement? Had we intended to embezzle, we would not have paid these loans at all. None of the charges against me were proved. So I’m asking to the court for my acquittal.”
Then Hajiyev said his final word. He too asked for acquittal.
He noted that the investigation has been ongoing for a year and five months and no embezzlement was proved during the investigation.
“I was called to investigation in April 2015. I came back from abroad. If had I any guilt of embezzlement, I wouldn’t have came back. I faced a criminal case on May 2 and I worked with investigators for a long time. An arrest warrant was issued against me in December. I was detained illegally. It was also absurd of employees of the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime conducting the investigation, because none of them were knowledgeable of banking. How come my assistant Emil Mustafayev has submitted the complaint to the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime instead of the prosecutor’s office? I have had a huge role in Azerbaijan’s international economic relations. For instance, I have signed a contract with Russia’s Gazprom. The Ministry of Finance then got in its way. The contract was cancelled. The plants in Albania were investments by the International Bank. Again, the Ministry of Finance got in the way, causing $350 million damage to Azerbaijan. What I have done is clear cut. I’m proud of this. Since this case was initiated, thousands of people have been banned from leaving Azerbaijan,” said Hajiyev.
He noted that illegal actions have been taken against his family members too.
“My sister was banned from leaving the country, however she has nothing to do with this case. My mother died, and there was a legacy issue. ASAN Service didn’t receive any document regarding the issue. An operation group was sent to London for my wife. London Interpol didn’t accept, because it was unfounded. Earlier, Zakir Nasirov and Haji Mammadov had demanded me 20 million manats for the release of my wife. If I had embezzled the money, I could give them,” said Hajiyev.
The former IBA head continued: The criminal case consists of 21 volumes. 38 people have testified against us, examinations have been carried out, but there is no evidence of embezzlement. They said that we are an organized group. There are some accused persons here whom I have only seen once or twice.
Hajiyev also commented the claims of unlimited loans granted to his family members.
“The prosecutor claims that we have embezzled 48 million manats via credit cards. This amount was allegedly spent for air tickets and beauty salons. One should fly by plane 24 hours a day to spend that money. I have covered all the expenses of my family. All these accusations are groundless,” he added.
In his speech, Hajiyev accused Finance Minister Samir Sharifov.
“The main cause of injustice against me is Finance Minister Samir Sharifov. It is known who embezzled the funds mentioned in the case. Why isn’t this case being investigated? Why wasn’t businessman Bulent Kara involved in the investigation? During the investigation, discussions were held with Interior Minister Ramil Usubov, Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov and Deputy Finance Minister Azer Bayramov. Azer Bayramov noted that all the money was directed to loans. I demanded the investigation so that the head of the bank’s audit committee should testify. However, it was rejected. The prosecutor demanded to sentence me to 17 years in prison. It doesn’t matter to me, even if they will sentence me to 117 years in prison. But the prosecutor demanded to sentence other innocent persons from 11 up to 14 years in prison. It is unfair. We are living in the 21st century - in the era of internet and people can research anything they want. Some claim that I allegedly have millions, villas, planes. He also rejected reports of some media outlets that he has a house in England in the area settled by lords.”
He asked the court to reopen investigation into the criminal case, pass a special decision on investigators and prosecutors involved in the case and acquit them.
The trial was postponed indefinitely.
The former head of the International Bank of Azerbaijan Jahangir Hajiyev, the former heads of the bank’s Central branch Anar Sultanov and Ilgar Abdullayev, the former director of Inter Security LLC Ibrahim Huseynov, the former head of the bank’s Central branch Yusif Alakbarov, the former head of the bank’s Transport Branch Kanan Orujov, the former head of the bank’s Narimanov Branch Mammad Jahangirov and the former director of the Baku hazelnut factory Azad Javadov, who are involved in the case, are charged under articles 179.3.1, 179.3.2 (embezzlement on a large scale by an organized group), 308.2 (abuse of power, resulting in grave consequences), 309.2 (abuse of power, resulting in grave crimes), 313 (official forgery), 228.1 and 228.4 (illegal storage and carrying of firearms).