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Akmal Mamarahimov linked to UK money laundering investigation

Akmal Mamarahimov, a leading supplier of industrial equipment in Uzbekistan, has been drawn into a corruption and money laundering investigation over the use of partnership firms in the UK.

Mamarahimov was until recently the owner of Perok Alliance LLP, a limited liability partnership (LLP) in England. Perok is closely associated with several individuals and entities that are, in turn, accused of potentially facilitating financial crimes via UK LLPs.

According to an investigation by Transparency International, about 14% of all UK LLPs show red flags for potential corruption and money laundering.

Many of the suspect LLPs identified by Transparency International have connections to Mamarahimov’s Perok Alliance, although no accusations of wrongdoing have been made against Perok directly.

Mamarahimov is the owner of Empyrean Heavy Machinery Spare Parts Trading LLC, a Dubai-based supplier of mining equipment to companies in Uzbekistan.

Empyrean has won more than $293 million of orders from mining companies in Uzbekistan since the business was founded in November 2018.

Mamarahimov has been described as a “person with significant control” of Perok since 2016, when all UK entities were required to disclose their ultimate beneficial owners. The LLP was incorporated in 2009 and dissolved in August 2021, although no details are available as to what services or functions Perok performed during that period.

Between 2009 and 6 February 2019, Perok’s designated members (or shareholders) were two Belizean entities called Corporate Solutions Ltd. and Advance Developments Ltd.

Transparency International said that these two entities were linked to 732 UK LLPs. Perok’s registered address until 2019 was at Cornwall Buildings, 45 Newhall Street in Birmingham, England. This was the most used address for the suspect LLPs identified by Transparency International, the NGO said in its investigation.

Duncan Hames, director of policy at Transparency International UK, said: “This research lays bare the seemingly industrial-scale abuse of U.K. LLPs and how this type of company has been used to facilitate billions in economic harm.”

Between 2009 and 2017, Perok’s accounts were signed by Sabine Boze as the authorised representative of Advance Developments Ltd. An investigation by OCCRP found that Boze was linked to a $20 billion money laundering scheme dubbed the Russian Laundromat.

Boze was also found to have signed accounts for 18 English LLPs that were identified by OCCRP as part of the “Azerbaijani Laundromat”, which reportedly laundered $2.9 billion through UK shell companies between 2012 and 2014.

On 6 February 2019 the Belizean representatives of Perok Alliance LLP were replaced for one day with two companies from the Seychelles: Sturari Impex Ltd. and Ferton Impex Ltd. Sturari and Ferton have acted as designated members for several dozen other UK LLPs including at least six that appear to be owned by Uzbeki nationals.

From February 2019, Perok’s designated members were two Hungarians: Eva Bodnar and Lajos Balog.

Akmal Mamarahimov’s Empyrean business supplies mining equipment such as trucks and tyres. It acts as an intermediary for well-known brands including Caterpillar, Shell, Michelin and Komatsu. Empyrean is owned via two UAE-based companies: SORP Investment LLC and IPC FZE.

David Lintott is a freelance journalist, covering culture, sport and society. He hails from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, which he considers the source of his world-weariness.

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