When award winning OCCRP journalist Khadija Ismayilova was arrested in Azerbaijan in December 2014, she asked her colleagues to finish her work. Under OCCRP’s direction, more than two dozen reporters from a dozen media spent the past year looking at issues she had been working on at the time of her arrest and issues she had cared about. The government wanted to shut her down, but instead they got the army of reporters. The Khadija Project represents the work Khadija would likely have done had she not been arrested.
Reporters uncovered a huge bribe with which President Ilham Aliyev's family apparently took over a government stake in Azerbaijan's largest mobile operator, worth about $1 billion. They also discovered that members of the Aliyev family and their close advisers control more than $3 billion in at least eight major Azerbaijan banks. OCCRP also found that the Aliyevs own at least one third of the five star hotels in Baku -- many built for the European Games hosted in Baku. Reporters also found a mansion and luxury apartments in London, a Moscow Dacha and two luxury yachts all owned or used by the family.