While evidence has emerged pointing to disturbing nexus between numerous politicians from the United States, United Kingdom and European Union as well as US President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and an undesignated terrorist organization in Bangladesh, there is report about embattled MP from UK’s Tory Party, Bob Stewart of hiding his directorship of a foreign defense company controlled by a controversial Azerbaijani businessman while sitting on Parliament’s influential defense committee.
An investigation by openDemocracy and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has found that Stewart failed to declare his role at the Luxembourg-registered firm.
A former member of Westminster’s standards committee said the failure “looks like a clear and serious breach” of the rules.
It comes a week after Stewart, the Conservative MP for Beckenham, was charged with a public order offence over an alleged racially aggravated incident in December.
According to OpenDemocracy, the latest revelations center on Stewart’s hitherto secret directorship of Ksantex SARL, a provider of defense equipment and advice, between February 2015 and July 2017. During this time, he was a member of the House of Commons defense select committee, which is tasked with overseeing the work of government on defense issues.
“It would be difficult to describe something which is more of a conflict of interest than this”, the SNP’s constitutional affairs spokesperson Tommy Sheppard told OpenDemocracy.
MPs are required to declare all relevant outside interests on the Register of Members’ Financial Interests within one month of election and any changes to their interests within 28 days. Stewart failed to declare his position in the two and a half years that he was a director or at any stage since.
Parliament’s own guidance states that the register’s purpose is “to provide information about any financial interest which an MP has, or any benefit which they receive, which others might reasonably consider to influence his or her actions or words as an MP”.
When asked by OpenDemocracy why he hadn’t registered his interest in Ksantex, Stewart said: “I believe I had already registered my interest in that group of companies in 2012”.
According to OpenDemocracy, Tory Party MP Bob Stewart declared a consultancy arrangement with a separate company – VES Consultancy (UK) Ltd, where he earned £3,000 per month for the “provision of leadership/planning training and advice”. Stewart’s declaration said the work lasted for one year from 1 July 2010.
But there is another significant person, beyond Stewart, who connects the two firms: a French-Azerbaijani businessman called Khagani Bashirov, who served time in jail in relation to an investigation into the disappearance of funds from the International Bank of Azerbaijan.
Commenting publicly for the first time, Bashirov confirmed to openDemocracy that he controlled both VES Consultancy (UK) Ltd and Ksantex SARL.
Bashirov was mentioned during the proceedings of the UK’s first Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO), which was brought against the wife of Jahangir Hajiyev, the former chairman of Azerbaijan’s state bank, in 2018.
Tory Party MP Bob Stewart is not the only case.
It was reported in Blitz that an INTERPOL wanted convicted terrorist named Shahid Uddin Khan has been maintaining deeper connections with Tory Party’s MP Stephen William Hammond. This dangerous terror-funder has publicly claimed to maintain connections with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and even shared picture with Sunak on social media.
In May 2009, UK’s most prestigious newspaper The Sunday Times in a report titled ‘Tory donor charged with arms dealing and funding terrorism’ said, Shahid Uddin Khan was maintaining intimate connections with Tory Party MP Stephen Hammond.
In a report, Indian newspaper The Business Standard said, the [Indian] agencies suspect that the Bangladeshi army officer, allegedly involved in gun running, has links with Dawood Ibrahim’s underworld activities. Quoting sources, it further said that the former Bangladeshi Colonel migrated to London in 2009 under mysterious circumstances. He is said to have had business operations in Dubai as well as in Britain. As per the latest dossier on the Dawood Ibrahim cartel, the D company is involved in smuggling Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) and contraband narcotics.
According to media reports, earlier Shahid Uddin had falsely claimed of completing PhD from Portsmouth University in UK. Although this matter was widely covered in the media, authorities of the Portsmouth University maintained total silence as it was later learnt from various sources that a section of staff of this university were bribed by this Interpol-wanted convicted fugitive in helping him with the false claim of completing PhD. It was revealed by reporters of this newspaper that the Portsmouth University PhD certificate Shahid Uddin Khan has been displaying on social media is fake, which generates serious doubts about the integrity of this UK university, while according to some people, Portsmouth University is a degree mill.
Since 2009, British authorities have allowed convicted fugitive Shahid Uddin Khan to reside in London by investing over US$ 15 million towards the so-called Golden Visa program, which has already allowed hundreds of criminals from around the world to taking refuge in England.
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