Imprisoned Turkish-Azeri businessman’s Palmali goes bankrupt

An Istanbul-based shipping conglomerate owned by Mübariz Mansimov, an Azeri-Turkish billionaire imprisoned over links to a religious group accused of carrying out the 2016 coup attempt, filed for bankruptcy, Hürriyet reported on Monday.

Palmali Shipping was a major supplier of oil products until it was accused of violating sanctions on Iran and Syria by U.S. authorities. Mansimov, once known for his ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump, has been in jail since March 2019 over links to the Gülen movement, which Turkey blames for masterminding the failed putsch. 

Mansimov reportedly gifted Erdoğan’s family $25 million oil tanker under a secretive offshore arrangement, according to the Black Sea website. The Azeri businessman was the first customer of Trump Towers in Istanbul, buying eight apartments, including the penthouse, the Intercept reported.

The British High Court of Justice on May 4 ruled to freeze and confiscate Mansimov's bank accounts and global assets, Hürriyet said.

Meanwhile, the Hamburg Commercial Bank, known for crediting the global marine oil transporters, asked the court to arrest and seize Palmali's six cargo ships, the daily said.

Azerbaijani native Mansimov, who became a naturalised Turkish citizen in 2006 and took on the name Mübariz Gurbanoğlu, founded the Palmali Group of Companies in Turkey in 1998. 

In 2015, Forbes magazine estimated Mansimov's fortune at $1.3 billion, ranking the businessman as the 1415th wealthiest person in the world. 

The Russian unit of Palmali, one of the biggest players in Russia’s river-to-sea cargo market, was declared bankrupt by a Russian court in 2018 after Russian multinational energy corporation PJSC Lukoil Oil Company took Mansimov to court on allegations of tax evasion.