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Birth: November 8, 1955
Professional domain/official standing: President and sole proprietor of Crocus Group
Biography: Agalarov Araz Iskender Oglu
1977 marked the year that Agalarov Araz Iskender Oglu received his bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the Baku Polytechnic Institute. After earning his diploma, he first worked at a research facility in Baku for a period of six years and then went on to work at the city committee of the Communist Party in Baku.
In the years 1983 to 1987, he attended classes at the Moscow location of the Higher School of the Trade Union Movement, which is part of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions (now the Academy of Labor and Social Relations).
As a junior research fellow, he contributed to the activities of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions’s research center during the years 1988 through 1990.
In 1987, he established the Saffron cooperative, which dealt in Russian trinkets and sent them to be sold in foreign countries. After that, the cooperative started bringing in computers from other countries. In 1989, he established the Crocus International American-Soviet joint venture along with his father-in-law, Joseph Gril.
This business was the precursor to what is now known as the Crocus Group. Since the year 1990, he has made it a tradition in Russia to play host to an annual international exhibition of computer technology. Agalarov was able to amass finances for the expansion of his firm and acquire business as well as criminal ties among the Azerbaijani diaspora as a result of his ownership of a portion of the Cherkizovsky market.
Agalarov House is a prestigious residential complex that was constructed in the heart of Moscow by Agalarov’s company in the year 1997.
In 1998, he developed the shopping mall known as Tvoy Dom. In 2002, he constructed the Crocus City Mall. He finished the building of the Crocus Expo in 2007. Crocus Group was the general contractor for the construction of the facilities of the Far Eastern Federal University on Russky Island, as well as the construction of several stadiums in various regions of Russia. Crocus Group also made an investment in the construction of the Myakinino metro station.
Agalarov is the president of the Union of Manufacturers and Importers in addition to his roles as a member of the board of directors for the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, a member of the praesidium of the All-Russian Azerbaijan Congress, a member of the board of directors for the Association of Entrepreneurial Organizations of Russia, and a member of the board of directors for the All-Russian Azerbaijan Congress.
He was elected to the position of vice president of the All-Russian Azerbaijan Congress in 2002. It is estimated that Agalarov has a fortune of $1.9 billion (as of 2019). Emin Agalarov is the son of Araz Agalarov, and he is the ex-husband of Ilham Aliyev’s daughter.
Efforts to influence the outcome of the presidential election in the United States
Araz Agalarov is widely regarded as the “king of commercial real estate” in Russia and as one of the most powerful leaders of ethnic communities in that country. He is the owner of enormous retail space in Moscow and the surrounding region. In addition to this, he takes an active role in government contracting alongside some of Putin’s closest cronies.
For the past few years, his name has been linked to allegations that the Kremlin attempted to influence American politics by hacking into the servers of the Democratic Party in the United States in order to further Kremlin goals. It is possible that his money and influence were obtained by dishonest means.
Alleged connections to organized crime
Araz Agalarov’s participation in the work done at the Cherkizovsky market in the late 1980s and early 1990s served as the impetus for the launch of his professional career. At that time, the Cherkizovsky Market was known for having a reputation for being a highly corrupt establishment. There, he made the acquaintance of God Nisanov and Zarah Iliev, the proprietors of the company Kievskaya Ploshchad, with whom he would frequently work in the future on various commercial endeavors.
After the assassination of Aslan Usoyan, the criminal underworld in Russia was commanded by Zakhary Kalashov (Shakro Molodoy) and Vagif Suleymanov, also known as Vagif. Nisanov and Iliev had close relationships with both of these men (Ded Khasan).
Ikmet Mukhtarov, a well-known thief in law and one of the most powerful figures in the Azerbaijani mafia, was gunned down in Moscow in 2006 as a direct consequence of the conflict that raged between the criminal clans of Chechnya and Azerbaijan. It is important to highlight that Ikmet Mukhtarov, a close colleague of Emin Agalarov, was the owner of the Mercedes that Mukhtarov was driving when he was slain. Mukhtarov was one of the co-founders of the Crocus International Group.
Favoritism among campaign staff
A new interethnic violence erupted as a direct result of Agalarov’s actions in 2005. After he purchased the Grand shopping complex in Khimki, the change houses that were used by the previous employees were removed. At the same time, the new Azerbaijani team leaders informed the previous employees that from that point forward, the owner of the Grand was an Azerbaijani, which meant that an Azerbaijani would be the one to establish the rules.
Reportedly, about 1,500 ethnic Russian workers were fired from Crocus City, which is also owned by Araz Agalarov, and replaced by Azerbaijanis who had been employed at the Cherkizovsky market. Crocus City is located in the same area as the Cherkizovsky Market.
Illegal land grabs
Publications appeared in 2008 on the raider seizure of land from peasants and low-income residents of the Istra district of Moscow Region by Agalarov’s structures for the construction of an elite residential village and the largest golf course in Europe. The land was seized for the construction of an elite residential village and the largest golf course in Europe.
The people who lived in the village of Voronino said that residents of the surrounding area were subjected to “moral pressure” by employees of Crocus International, who had already pushed many of the villagers to sell their homes. It was agreed that the ones who were left over would have to endure deplorable living conditions. Residents are essentially “squeezed out” of their home places, and nobody cares about the village’s history dating back 400 years.
In 2017, The New York Times reported that Emin Agalarov, son of Araz Agalarov, acted as an intermediary between lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who allegedly offered information to Trump staff that could be harmful to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and a meeting that took place in Trump Tower in New York on June 9, 2016. The meeting took place in 2016. This was one of the incidents that Robert Muller found during his investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election in the United States.
In 2018, the National Committee of the Democratic Party of the United States filed a lawsuit against the Agalarovs, alleging they were involved in a plot to hack into the computer system of the party. The allegations were made in the lawsuit. The fall of that year saw the closing of all commercial accounts held by Agalarov enterprises in the United States.
It is not a secret that under Putin’s modern Russia, nepotism, criminal ties, and disdain for the institutions of a free and open society develop, which ultimately affect the bulk of the population of the country. There are now no social processes that can be used to prosecute individuals such as Agalarov. They feel like kings of life while living in the center of a destitute and powerless country thanks to the support they receive from the Kremlin and structures inside the diaspora. A desire to liberate Russia entails a commitment to ensuring that all Russians are treated equally before the law and in terms of their legal rights, regardless of their socioeconomic standing.
Also read: Senator Alexander Dvoinykh: a young and successful corrupt official
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