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Azerbaijan: European Games’ Sponsors Have Ties to First Family

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (holding the torch) is joined by his First Family in Baku at the April 26 lighting of the torch and beginning of the torch relay for the inaugural European Games. From right to left are: son Heydar, daughter Leyla, President Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, daughter Arzu, and husband of Arzu, Samad Qurbanov. (Photo: Azerbaijani Presidential Press Service)

That corporate sponsorship and international sporting events go hand-in-hand is nothing new. But the extent to which many sponsors of the June 12-28 European Games have connections to the host nation, Azerbaijan, and specifically to friends and relatives of President Ilham Aliyev, is noteworthy.
 
Aliyev – who in addition to serving as head of state also happens to lead Azerbaijan’s National Olympic Committee – and his family members have played a prominent role in every aspect of hosting the games.
 
First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva ran the organizing committee. In addition, all members of Aliyev’s family, including twenty-something daughters Leyla and Arzu, and teenage son, Heydar, participated in the torch relay for the Games.
 
But the first family’s involvement apparently does not stop there. Nine Azerbaijani companies that are officially promoting the Games as official partners or official “supporters” all appear to have some sort of connection, whether commercial or personal, to the First Family, recent media investigations have found.
 

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Azerbaijan: European Games’ Sponsors Have Ties to First Family

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