The Aliyevs’ Nest.

The Family of Azerbaijan’s President Has Found a Home near Moscow

The Proekt team, March 14, 2019

 Русская версия

Как семья президента Азербайджана Ильхама Алиева обосновалась в Подмосковье

The son of Azerbaijan’s president has a previously undiscovered property near Moscow worth tens of millions of dollars.

About 10 km outside Moscow, along the Rublevo-Uspensky highway, is one of the most expensive residential real estate developments in the world.

“Sady Meyendorf”, or Meyendorf Gardens, is a cottage village named after the Meyendorffs, a prominent family who lived in a local chateau before the Russian revolution. Their castle later became an exclusive sanitorium for luminaries such as Yuri Gagarin and Mikhail Bulgakov, as well as the “unofficial” residences of former President Dmitry Medvedev. It’s now managed by the presidential administration.

Nearby are real estate properties belonging to some of Russia’s most prominent billionaires. One of the homes, which is shaped like a spaceship, was designed for prominent property developer Vladislav Doronin by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid.

Особняк Доронина в «Садах Майендорф», созданный Захой Хадид
Vladislav Doronin’s house in Meyendorf Gardens

Realtors say this is the one of the most expensive residential real estate areas in Russia. On its website, the developer of Meyendorf Gardens guarantees buyers private transactions, as he “understands the nature of the local clientele”. A security guard at the settlement entrance told The Project reporter that he doesn’t know who lives there: the residents of the mansions all arrive in cars with tinted windows.

Meyendorf Gardens also hosts two elite mansions owned by the family of the President of Azerbaijan.

According to extracts from Russia’s property registry, one mansion in the settlement, along with a plot of land, is registered to the president’s 22-year-old son, Heydar Aliyev. The area of the plot is almost 7.2 thousand square meters; the house is nearly 1.6 thousand square meters. The plot also has a guard house.

According to the official extracts, Heydar Aliyev received the building and the plot as a gift from his grandfather on his mother’s side, Arif Pashayev, in April 2007. Pashayev had bought the mansion the year before. Reporters were unable to reach the seller to ask him about the price. Today, after several crises in the Moscow residential real estate market, similar properties are selling for 2.3 billion rubles (about US$ 35 million).

Ариф Пашаев c дочерью — первой леди Азербайджана Мехрибан Алиевой
Arif Pashayev with daughter — First Lady of Azerbaijan

The second plot belonging to the Aliyev family is at the other end of Meyendorf Gardens. OCCRP has previously reported that it belonged to the Azeri president’s eldest daughter, Leyla.

Neither the administration of the Azeri president nor Arif Pashayev responded to requests for comment.

Even if they’re worth tens of millions of dollars, such mansions form only a small part of the Aliyev family’s fortunes. In addition to a villa in Karlovy Vary and a mansion in London, the family also owned multi-billion-dollar businesses, including hotels and gold mines in Azerbaijan and a resort in Dubai, as OCCRP previously reported.

Their main asset is the presidency of Azerbaijan, which Ilham Aliyev inherited from his father Heydar in 2003. Since then, the country’s constitution has been amended to allow the president to be re-elected an unlimited number of times, and the presidential term has been increased from five to seven years. In addition, the position of first vice-president has been established and entrusted to Aliyev’s wife Mehriban.

The country is known for rampant corruption, gross human rights violations, and cronyism. The first family controls a significant part of the oil-rich country’s economy including large shares of the energy, construction, tourism, transportation, real estate and other industries.

Azerbaijani presidential candidates are required to declare their incomes and properties to the election commission. The last presidential elections were held in 2018, but the declarations were not published by the Election Commission Some of the other candidates publicly disclosed information about their property and revenues, but Aliyev did not.

This text also was published on OCCRP website