Palm trees on coastal promenade along sandy beach in Cala San Vicente bay on sunny summer day, Ibiza island, Spain (Shutterstock/Pawel Kasmierczak)
While the Spanish police hunt for the thief who allegedly robbed an Azeri tourist of a $1.3 million Richard Mille watch in Ibiza, back home the tourist’s countrymen are asking who the victim is.
The owner of the 50-03 McLaren F1 watch was walking by the sea in Ibiza at around 4:30 p.m. on June 19 when the thief shoved him and stole the watch, according to a report in the Spanish newspaper Diario de Ibiza. The victim reported the theft to the police on the Mediterranean island.
Then a photo of a Spanish police report circulated on social media, identifying the victim as a 25-year-old Azeri national, Rashad Abdullayev. The report, which a person with knowledge of the matter confirmed was authentic, includes Abdullayev’s passport and contact details as well as the names of his mother and two friends who were with him in Ibiza.
Azeri opposition parties and human rights activists have said the victim is the son of Rovnaq Abdullayev, the head of State Oil Co. of the Azerbaijan Republic since 2005 and a member of parliament. Abdullayev, 54, has a son with the same name and year of birth, according to his biography.
Neither Abdullayev nor Socar, as the company is known, has publicly commented on the allegations. Socar’s press service didn’t respond to repeated emails or phone calls over several days, while responding to questions about business matters. The Rashad Abdullayev in the police report didn’t answer calls to the mobile phone he gave. Laura Hughes, director of communications for Richard Mille, said the company did not wish to comment on the theft.
President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly warned government employees to avoid extravagant lifestyles and watch the behavior of their children, and threatened to dismiss those who don’t obey. The average monthly salary in Azerbaijan is 581 manat ($343), according to a State Statistics Committee report.
The former Soviet Union’s largest oil producer after Russia and Kazakhstan is still listed by international transparency watchdogs as one of the world’s most corrupt nations despite improvements in public services in recent years. Transparency International ranked the Caspian Sea nation 152 out of 180, in its corruption transparency perceptions index for 2018, on a par with Nicaragua and Tajikistan.
The wife of the former head of an Azeri state bank is being targeted by the U.K.’s first unexplained wealth order. Zamira Hajiyeva spent almost 16 million pounds ($20.4 million) across Europe, including at Harrods and luxury boutiques, on 10 credit cards issued illegally by the bank.
Jahangir Hajiyev, who’s serving 15 years in prison for abuse of office, had annual earnings as a state employee that never exceeded $70,000, according to Helen Malcolm, the lawyer representing the Azeri government. Hajiyeva’s lawyer has said she’s not complicit in fraud and called the Azeri government’s case “politically tainted.”
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