A SINGLE anonymously owned Glasgow shell firm was used to funnel nearly £145 million out of an oil-rich former Soviet republic to feed one of Europe’s biggest ever slush funds.

The business was one of 20 Scottish limited partnerships (SLPs) named in a major investigation into the elaborate and far reaching £2.2 billion Azerbaijan Laundromat money-laundering scheme.

Faberlex, which was registered at a Glasgow branch of Mailboxes Etc, was the second biggest feeder in to a scheme believed to have been used, among other things, to pay off European politicians sympathetic to Azerbaijan's regime.

The firm, which has now been dissolved, only existed for three years and, like most SLPs, never revealed its true owners or filed any accounts.

There is no suggestion Mailbox Etc had any knowledge its branch was being used for such activities.

Only a mysterious venture called Baktelekom, which shares its name as an entirely unrelated Azerbaijan telecoms firm, paid more in to the laundromat than Faberlex.

Azerbaijan has invested in an entire new look for its capital, Baku

Its role has been exposed just as international bodies become increasing nervous about the use of British firms, and a Danish bank, to help Azerbaijan’s elite both peddle interest and feather their nests at home.

The Council of Europe expressed “great concern” over the revelations which were exposed thanks to a data leak from Danske Bank in Denmark to Copenhagen’s Berlingske newspaper.

Its assembly passed a motion calling on Azerbaijan’s hardline president Ilham Aliyev to start “an independent and impartial inquiry into these allegations without delay and, furthermore, cooperate fully with competent international authorities and bodies on this issue.”

The country's officials have dismissed any claims of money-laundering. Media friendly to the regime suggested the stories were the product of a conspiracy theory featuring a billionaire frequently the subject of smears in the former Soviet Union state.

The Laundromat was “fake news inspired by billionaire George Soros”, said one outlet.

The entire dump of data to Berlingske has now been published online by the Organised Crime and Reporting Project (OCCRP), a body which previously exposed the bigger and even more elaborate Russian Laundromat.

Within this tranche of data, The Herald has found more than 20 SLPs, including Faberlex and two we named earlier this week as core firms in the Laundromat: Hilux Services and Polux Management.

These firms, which were also registered at a Glasgow Mailboxes Etc, played a crucial role in distributing cash paid in to the scheme.

Hilux and Polux were joined by two English limited liability partnerships Metastar Invest and LCM Alliance, as the central or “core” corporate entities in the scheme.

OCCRP urges caution on assuming all entities named in its data dump were involved in wrongdoing. Danske Bank has said that the some 16,000 transactions concerned, made through its branch in Estonia, were suspicious.

All but one of named SLPs identitifed discovered by The Herald are registered at addresses which have previously hosted firms involved in other scandals we have covered.

For example, the flat of an innocent Inverness nurse was used as the registration base of firms in the Azerbaijani Laundromat, the $1 billion looting of three banks in Moldova and the ownership of a ghost ship used to bust sanctions in to Russian-occupied Crimea, revealed by The Herald last month.

Westburn Enterprises, a Scottish limited company, which is not an SLP, is named in both the Russian and the Azerbaijan Laundromats. The now dissolved firm, which was based at an Edinburgh flat, was one of the core entities in the £20bn Russian scandal. In the Azerbaijan scheme it played a more modest role, funnelling just under $1.5 million to now defunct LCM Alliance.

There is no way to contact any of the SLPs’ owners, who are anonymous shell firms in tax havens.

There is no suggestion that any of the firms or householders hosting the SLPs in the Azerbaijani Laundromat were involved in criminality. Mailboxes Etc has previously stressed that its staff report anything irregular about their clients to the authorities.

SLPs named in the Azerbaijan Laundromat:



Cityport Contracts

Amberlot Invest


Richfield Trading

Globecom Trade

Wildpark Sales

General Trade

Interline Europe

Stamptone Service

Keylord Investments

Evermair Projects

Cartfield Trade

Lumena Trade

Santral Elektrik



Polux Management

Hilux Services 

And, at least one Scottish limited company:

Westburn Enterprises Limited