Owner of SDI Group Ilgar Hajiyev escaped to Europe after deceiving shareholders of residential complexes in the Moscow region. He pretends to be a victim of raiders now.
London lifeline of fugitive businessman Ilgar Hajiyev
Beyond any doubt the best place to hide from Russian investigators after embezzling millions of dollars is London. As we know, no one is extradited from foggy Albion. When someone’s millions run out, he can set up a Fund to fight something in Russia. At any time the sponsors can catch up, being less sensitive to the beneficiary's reputation.
How did it happen, that Ilgar Hajiyev after escaping from Azerbaijan, where a criminal case was opened against him for $10 million fraud, managed to pull off several scams in Russia? This may be due to the fact that Hajiyev conducted most of his dubious transactions in Russia. When he deceived his Baku partner, it took time for Azerbaijani investigators to start the case. When their request for Hajiyev was received in Moscow, he had already fled to Europe. By this time, Russian investigators had their own claims against him, as the developer escaped with the money of the defrauded homebuyers.
The origin of fraud
The scam that lasted for a few years started in 2016 when Ilgar Hajiyev, the head of SDI Group, began to attract investors into the construction of residential complexes Pirogovskaya Riviera (Pirogovo village, Mytishchinsky District in Moscow region, 320 thousand sq. m.) and Accord Smart (Novye Zhavoronki village, Odintsovo district in Moscow region, 130 thousand sq. m.). One of the investors was an Azerbaijani businessman, who delivered $10 million in several parts to Hajiyev by March 2017. Later, Hajiyev sold the future apartments without any refund to the Azerbaijani investor.
The Main Directorate for Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan opened a criminal case under Article 178.3.2 of the Azerbaijani Criminal Code on June 4, 2019. By this time Ilgar Hajiyev had already escaped not only from Azerbaijan but also from Russia.
It was nearly the same way Hajiyev cheated his partner for the Pirogovskaya Riviera project - Isai Zakharyaev. Zakharyaev claims that they started construction of a residential complex in Mytishchi together. Later Hajiyev decided that he would continue the construction alone and offered to buy out his partner's share for more than 1 billion rubles. "I transferred him the share, but he failed to pay me the amount that was due", – said Zakharyaev.
Rivieres of fraud
Hajiyev's other fraudulent transactions also revolve around the Riviera project.
Hajiyev made several equity agreements with ComfortInvest LLC (developer of Pirogovskaya Riviera residential complex). The agreements would later become the subject of a number of fictitious transactions.
For example, according to one of the contracts, he had to buy 70 apartments from the developer for the amount of 236 million rubles. He swiftly registered the contract in the Federal Register to secure his rights to the unpaid apartments. Later Hajiyev developed a forged agreement on the termination of mutual obligations, according to which he paid the developer 236 million rubles.
Of note, the CEO of ComfortInvest (Danilchenko) learned about the existence of this agreement (that it would seem, he signed) much later, when Hajiyev already had transferred the rights to the apartments to a third party.
The transaction was subject to one of the criminal cases in which ComfortInvest was recognized as a fraud victim. The rights for seventy apartments were transferred to third parties to settle the debts of Hajiyev and his affiliated party Accord spetstroy LLC.
Another contract of Hajiyev with ComfortInvest for 229 apartments worth more than 500 million rubles was defrauded according to a similar scheme. Once again Hajiyev forged payment documents for the apartments and transferred some of them to his affiliated structures as collateral. This way ComfortInvest lost more than 300 million rubles.
The investigation uncovered that Ilgar Hajiyev transferred in total 360 apartments to himself and his affiliates. Among them 43 apartments were passed to Ekaterina Khavaeva, a former official of the Moscow government and reportedly Hajiyev's mistress, who hastily left the country after being questioned by the police. Another 50 apartments in the Pirogovskaya Riviera residential complex were transferred to Zia Gaziev, the owner of Alcon Development GmbH and his long-time business partner. He is thought to be an accomplice of Hajiyev since the pseudo-German company is affiliated with Hajiyev.
At the same time Hajiyev used a similar scam scheme with the land that he turned in his property without paying for it and increased his share in the Pirogovskaya Riviera project to 70% by deceiving his partners.
These stories would have been enough for several years in prison. This is just one of a number of criminal cases being investigated against Hajiyev in Russia.
Hajiyev is charged with five criminal cases in Russia: two for fraud and non-payment of wages, and another for beating a partner in the basement of his office.
Hajiyev's debts to the defrauded shareholders, clients, contractors, and former partners amounted to more than 3 billion rubles. Therefore, he had solid reason to leave Russia in the spring of 2019. In Germany, where he travelled first, Hajiyev managed to pull off another scam, selling 80% of his companies SDI Group LLC and Style LLC to Zia Gaziev's company Alcon Development GmbH. Given the amount of debts linked to these assets he misled creditors, or Gaziev, not informing him of the creditors' claims, which is unlikely. After all, Hajiyev told creditors it was Alcon Development that would finish the suspended construction projects. Although, considering the company information, the assets of the company might be not enough to buy even a single apartment in the Pirogovskaya Riviera.
At the same time, the Azerbaijani's fraud schemes in Russia are so obvious that such tricks would hardly help him in the case of a request for extradition from the Russian Prosecutor General office to Germany. That’s why he quickly moved to London. Being in Berlin, he already stated to present himself as a victim.
First he announced intention to appeal to the Bundestag. After moving to London he announced the opening of a Center for Business Transparency and Countering Corporate Raids in Russia with obscure goal. All sorts of well-wishers immediately supported him.
The fugitive oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky stands out among Hajiyev's new partners. The Director of the Center (in absentia) is Igor Bitkov, the former owner of the Neman Pulp and Paper company, who is now under house arrest in Guatemala for using false documents as part of a criminal group. In Russia he is wanted for fictitious bankruptcy of the Neman Pulp and Paper company and embezzlement from the Russian banks of more than six billion rubles. At the same time, it is known that Bitkov is a protege of the famous international conman William Browder, who was convicted in absentia in Russia for nine years for financial fraud and tax evasion.
Hajiyev who escaped from justice and criminal cases doesn’t seem an odious swindler in this company of the ‘victims of the regime’.
At least he hasn't committed any murders yet. It is unclear whom was used by who. Whether Hajiyev is hiding behind more famous ‘friends’ to avoid extradition? Or do Khodorkovsky and Browder use a common swindler Hajiyev in their international political intrigues? At least, it obvious that in Russia this will not help the fraudster. In Britain such games are risky for all sorts of ‘fighters’ who become pawns in political games.