Rashad Gafarov, a Azerbaijani businessman who owned businesses in the Czech Republic, sent LCM Alliance €54,900 ($71,043) from his personal account at a Czech bank, allegedly for construction materials. In June 2017, he was murdered.
His car crashed into a truck on a one-way street in Holešovice, an arty Prague neighborhood. Doctors treating the injured driver discovered that his injuries did not correspond to a car crash–he had suffered multiple stab wounds. Police quickly classified the case as a murder investigation and the case is still pending.
Born in Azerbaijan, Gafarov opened his first transport company in the Czech Republic capital of Prague in 2008, called Caspian Logistic Services but later renamed Tern Transport and Trading. Three other transport and logistics companies followed: Oriental Petroleum,CLS Cargo and Sintex EU. Together, his companies reported in 2015 assets worth more than 30 million Czech crowns (more than $1 million) and shareholders registered in Baku.
Tern Transport and Trading has branches around the world and its business partners include companies such as the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and Gilan Holding. The latter, according to leaked US diplomatic cables, has links to the inner circle of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev.
Gafarov and his companies have at times shared addresses in the Czech Republic with another powerful Azerbaijani family, the Dilbazis. Eltay Dilbazi manages Czech real estate projects for another powerful Azerbaijani family, the Nagiyevs. Ali Nagiyev is the head of the Anti-Corruption General Directorate under the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
From 2002 to 2013, Gafarov worked as a customer service manager at Panalpina Central Asia EC, an oil company in Azerbaijan. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Panalpina is a subsidiary of the global oil giant BP (formerly British Petroleum), and it had “allegedly approved roughly $16 million worth of invoices billed by a shell company for transportation services that it didn’t provide.”
Officials at BP reported that they were aware of this issue a few years ago, and at that time this issue was investigated and measures were taken. Panalpina admitted bribing foreign officials in a similar case filed in the US.
According to Azerbaijani TV channel Anspress TV, it was Gafarov who reported the bribery and money laundering.
By Pavla Holcová