Recent legislative efforts in Azerbaijan to protect the privacy of President Ilham Aliyev and his family are coming at the expense of investors, both foreign and domestic.
The Azerbaijani parliament voted June 12 to restrict public access to information about the registration, ownership structure and shareholders of Azerbaijani corporations. In addition, legislators granted President Aliyev and his wife, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, lifetime immunity from criminal prosecution.
The immunity provision for the Aliyevs was not unexpected: the proposal had been under consideration for a year. But the corporate secrecy amendment was added to parliament’s agenda only after the conclusion of the May 22-26 Eurovision Song Contest.
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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance reporter based in Baku.