Airline Once Linked to Azerbaijan’s Ruling Family Got US Loan Guarantees, Military Contracts, Planes

Through opaque contracts, an Azerbaijani cargo airline once linked to the ruling Aliyev family has an impressive range of business partners — including the US military.

A SilkWay Airlines Boeing-737 leaves Hong Kong in 1999. Credit: Wilco  

A cargo airline owned by a company with past ties to Azerbaijan’s ruling Aliyev family won some lucrative contracts from the U.S. military, according to documents obtained in 2016 through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed in the U.S. by a reporter for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

In late 2005, as the war in Afghanistan was in its fourth year, the U.S. government began contracting with the carrier, Silk Way Airlines, to transport ammunition and other non-lethal materials to U.S.-trained Afghan forces and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the country.

Silk Way participated in contracts worth more than $400 million with the U.S.

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