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Former members of the Council of Europe’s assembly accused of taking money, gifts to further interests of Baku regime.8 May 2018
Allegations of Azerbaijani attempts to buy support from members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) gained significant traction last month with the publication of a report commissioned by the assembly.
In the context of “corruptive activities in favor of Azerbaijan,” the report “established that there was a strong suspicion that certain current and former members of PACE had engaged in activity of a corruptive nature.”
Some PACE members “have been accused of accepting money, jewelry, prostitutes and paid hotel stays in oil-rich Azerbaijan,” The New York Times writes.
Agramunt, currently a Spanish senator, and others named in the PACE report denied any wrongdoing. According to the Times, “Agramunt suggested he was the victim of a political crusade backed by the Open Society Foundations of the American financier George Soros and driven by countries like Ukraine and Armenia, which are opposed to any European rapprochement with Russia.”
Italian authorities have opened a criminal case against former PACE member and Italian parliamentarian Luca Volonte, also named in the report, whom they accuse of receiving more than 2 million euros from two former members of the Azerbaijani delegation at PACE, according to the Times.
The assembly opened its investigation last year into “charges that former and current members had voted to soften criticism of Baku's authoritarian government in exchange for gifts of cash, caviar, carpets, and stays in luxury hotels in Baku,” RFE/RL writes.
An international reporting project last year published details of an almost $3 billion secret fund created by Azeri interests to pay off PACE members, launder money, and buy luxury goods.
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