Azerbaijan’s Oil-Rich Regime and Washington Real Estate


If you’re looking for a luxury property in Washington, there’s a Dupont Circle area house on the market you might want to take a look at. The 7-bedroom, 4.5 bathroom estate, located not far from the National Affairs Office of the Church of Scientology, can be had for a mere $2.75 million. According to property records and a real estate listing, the home is currently owned by Galib Mammad, an Azeri-American.

Mammad is a former executive director of the United States Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce, which promotes closer ties between the U.S. and oil-rich Azerbaijan. He’s also the registered agent for the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, or ADA, which operates out of a nearby mansion worth nearly $4 million.

Azeri press accounts say that Mammad is close to Hafiz Pashayev, the country’s deputy foreign minister and the founder of the ADA. Pashayev happens to be the uncle of Azeri first lady Mehriban Aliyeva (also a board member of ADA) and — as reported by Alex Raufoglu, citing a WikiLeaks cable — belongs to “the county’s single most powerful family” with extensive interests in banking, real estate, insurance and other areas.

Raufoglu said that the ADA’s mansion “was made through a very complex structure,”  and that it was purchased in cash. Meanwhile, about five years ago the state oil company of Azerbaijan bought a five-story building near Dupont Circle, paying $12 million for a 23,000-square-foot property that was assessed for $9.5 million.

That’s a lot of cash flowing into one DC neighborhood from Azeri officials, companies and friends of the regime of Ilham Aliyev, whose family has ruled the country since 1993 and who won a third term as president in 2013 with a modest 85 percent of the vote.

In Miami, an astonishing 80 percent of luxury properties are owned by foreign buyers, many who pay cash. In Manhattan, that figure is far lower but still 27 percent. Since 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department has required buyers of $1 million-and-up properties in Miami and Manhattan to disclose their true identities, as purchasers have traditionally used shell companies to close deals.

There’s so much foreign money sloshing through Washington real estate, you have to wonder why Treasury doesn’t impose the same rule in DC. Oh right, that could be embarrassing.

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