Mikaela Jav may be a name familiar to those who spend their time on the party island of Ibiza in Spain. Jav is a popular resident DJ on the Balearic island, where she hosted her popular "Mikaela & Friends" parties beginning in 2015. The parties gained the DJ some notoriety, building her social media accounts significantly, where she shared many lavish photos of a globetrotting lifestyle.
But those photos also caught the attention of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Transparency International’s UK chapter, who launched an investigation against Jav. The DJ, whose real name is Izzat Khanim Javadova, is also the cousin of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
Jav and her husband Suleyman Javadov came under investigation for funds flagged by the National Crime Agency (NCA) under suspicion of being acquired through “corruption, theft or embezzlement.” Last year the Evening Standard reported on the investigation, leading to the release of documents detailing that an “Azerbaijani couple” had received nearly $19.6 million USD from questionable origins.
According to the NCA, the couple received the funds via 20 opaque companies in offshore locations to their UK accounts, obscuring the source of the funds and making them virtually impossible to audit. The NCA later identified six of the companies as a part of the "Azerbaijani Laundromat," an intricate network that allowed the Azerbaijani elite ruling class to launder money, avoid paying taxes, pay bribes to European government officials, and move illicit funds out of Azerbaijan to fund posh lifestyles.
Javadova is the first member of the country's ruling family to have been found using the Azerbaijani Laundromat system, though many other high ranking officials have been investigated for the same. She told the NCA that the funds were profits gained through a rental property company, though court documents later revealed that the income was “well over double the turnover of their rental income" as reported to the couple's UK bank.
“No explanation has been proffered as to why a Scottish or Irish LP or a Seychelles company should be used to manage property in Azerbaijan using a bank account in Estonia (or Latvia),” the NCA said in their statement to the court. Transaction dates and company information provided also didn't line up with Javadova's claims, and the NCA revealed that the couple “knew that what they were receiving did not come from their tenants but from an unlawful intermediary organization designed to launder money.”
“The question for the court is whether the funds received in the UK come from some other (more immediate) source and have been obtained through unlawful conduct,” NCA investigators said.
The Javadovs’ bank accounts, which contain £6.5 million ($9.2 million USD), have been frozen by the NCA. Hearings on the case are scheduled to begin this month.