"You know, this kind of things accompany me for many years. From time to time depending on a political conjecture some forces in the West try to use this kind of insinuations or half truth in order to discredit the image of Azerbaijan and undermine Azerbaijan’s position," said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in his interview with “La Repubblica” newspaper while responding to the question " I’m sorry, you know, but I cannot help but ask you about the Pandora papers. As you know, your name has appeared. So, what is your defense? What would you say to defend yourself about the Pandora", APA reports.
"It is clear that it is not a kind of a journalist investigation. It is clear who is behind, and it is clear why Azerbaijan appeared there. I don’t know about the others, maybe they also did something which some forces in the West do not like. But with respect to Azerbaijan, of course the victory in the second Karabakh war was of surprise for many. And they did not like that. They wanted Azerbaijan to be weak, dependent, occupied, always asking for assistance in resolution of the conflict. And now when Azerbaijan did it itself, when Azerbaijan defeated Armenia, also those circles in the West who are closely linked to Armenia became very angry. We were expecting that. Actually we were saying that a new slander campaign is planned against Azerbaijan. Coming to the substance, I would like to say that, I am a president for 18 years. Before that, I was a businessman. My biography is known-a successful businessman. When I became a president, I was not a poor man. When I became a president, I stopped being directly involved in the business, and transferred my business to my family. You will probably understand me, unlike some other people in the West who dedicate all their fortune to their cats and dogs, in Italy and Azerbaijan we value family values. Therefore, I transferred all my business to my children. They made efforts and continue their business. They have investments mainly in Azerbaijan. They have investments outside of Azerbaijan. All their business activity is transparent, internationally audited and there is nothing that anybody can claim wrong.
What was written in the papers frankly speaking, I did not read it. I was informed, and it is maybe 5 percent is truth. The rest is exaggeration. But again, I have a legitimate right openly to say about that. It’s not a secret in Azerbaijan that my relatives, family members are involved in business, involved in charity, involved in a lot of things which are happening now in Karabakh. For instance, the Foundation which I created is now investing in restoration of Karabakh, in all the mosques in Aghdam, Shusha, Zangilan are being financed by the money of the Foundation. We financed construction of houses for refugees for, I think, 5,000 families. What we’ve done. We do a lot in Azerbaijan. Of course, some people do not like it in the West. They want to accuse us, they want to subordinate us, they want to impose their will on us. And I say: No! I will defend Azerbaijan, its sovereignty, its independence, its choice until the end of my life. And all this kind of dirty stories mean nothing to me and to the people of Azerbaijan", said Azerbaijani president.