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Azerbaijan - Global Laundromat

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#21 Yervant1


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Posted 22 September 2017 - 01:43 PM

Focus News, Bulgaria
Sept 22 2017
How Azerbaijani laundromat has affected EU policy on Nagorno-Karabakh 22 September 2017 | 14:52 | Euractiv
af8df0595c62ccd5166f9422d7aa9f8d.jpgSource: Focus Information Agency
By Nicolas Tavitian

Media coverage of the “Azerbaijani Laundromat” in the last few days has put the spotlight on the system of corruption of European politicians by Azerbaijan.

 If this affair had been widely covered by the European media, evidence of widespread corruption and influence peddled by Azerbaijan in the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) and throughout Europe would have already had been exposed in 2012.

 That year, the European Stability Initiative (ESI) published a report entitled “Caviar Diplomacy – How Azerbaijan silenced the Council of Europe”. ESI was denounced by Azerbaijan at the time as an instrument of the “Armenian lobby”.

Indeed, it is standard procedure in Azerbaijan to blame the Armenians. Not surprisingly, President Aliyev has blamed the recent revelations once again on the “Armenian lobby”.

If the Armenians have nothing to gain from a system of corruption set up by Azerbaijan, the first victims of the “laundromat” are the people of Azerbaijan. Human rights defenders there have been repeatedly let down by those European institutions that were established to support them. The second victim of corruption is peace.

 Azerbaijan has recently stepped up attacks at the border with the small and disputed Armenian-populated territory of Nagorno-Karabakh (NKR). These attacks have caused numerous casualties and, should NKR’s defences fail, an all-out war could follow.
Anti-Armenian rhetoric has reached fever pitch in Azerbaijan and the country’s leaders have also sought to intensify its policy of isolating the republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.

 The Azaerbaijan leadership intimidates and prosecutes those who travel to NKR, including public officials and diplomats. In February 2017, an international arrest warrant was issued against three European Parliament members who travelled there.
The same month, a Russian blogger who also travelled to NKR was extradited from Belarus to Azerbaijan, where he was convicted and jailed until his very recent release. This campaign of intimidation is global, well-financed and also targets members of my organisation.

 Today, Azerbaijan is once again heading for war. But in the face of this deteriorating situation, Azerbaijani money has contributed to paralysing and silencing the European institutions, whose very legitimacy rests on their ability to promote peace on the European continent.

 It is widely recognised that the best way to defuse post-imperial conflicts such as that of Nagorno-Karabakh is to promote engagement and confidence-building, a policy that has been dubbed “engagement without recognition”.

Where there is no simple solution, peace can only be achieved with dialogue, patience, experimentation and a degree of trust. Engagement is the EU’s approach in all such conflicts on the European periphery, from Northern Cyprus to Transnistria.

 But in Nagorno-Karabakh, the EU strictly adheres to Baku’s dangerous policy of blockading and isolating the local population. At Baku’s insistence, no EU official has travelled to NKR in the last 20 years and the EU has provided no assistance to its population, in spite of the hardship caused by the 1991-1994 war and a 29-year blockade.

 With no European presence on the ground in NKR, the EU has no first-hand information to base its policy on. Horrifying war crimes committed during a 4-day war in 2016 have gone unrecorded, and the European institutions have not uttered a word on the subject. This is certain to embolden those who have committed them in the next round of fighting.

 With no contact with the population or leadership of NKR, furthermore, European actors have no way of contributing to peace or confidence-building.

 Twenty-four years on, a mixture of Azerbaijani bribes and oil politics have conspired to keep the European institutions out of Nagorno-Karabakh. It is time for the EU to free itself from this corrupting grip, and to stand for its values in the Caucasus.

#22 Yervant1


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Posted 26 September 2017 - 09:27 AM

News.am, Armenia
Sept 25 2017
Lobbyists promised Azerbaijan to organize a meeting with Trump?
16:08, 25.09.2017

Former manager of Trump's campaign Corey Lewandowski may be involved in lobbying for Azerbaijan, Politico reported quoting its sources.

The article published by Politico website says Lewandowski quit the firm he was co-founding and appears to be a working for a new. Lewandowski now is trying to cash on his relationship with President Trump.

“In a recent conversation with Elin Suleymanov, the Azerbaijani ambassador to the U.S., Lewandowski promised that he could get the Azerbaijani president a meeting with Trump, according to a source familiar with the exchange,” the article reads.

Asked about the reports, Lewandowski said he did not do foreign work, while Azerbaijani ambassador said he was not aware whether Lewandowski was working for Azerbaijan.


#23 Yervant1


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Posted 26 September 2017 - 09:29 AM

Sept 22 2017
Corey Lewandowski appears to be working with another lobbying firm

The link raises questions about the former Trump campaign official's profiting from a relationship with the president.




09/22/2017 07:33 PM EDT

It’s not clear when Corey Lewandowski started working with Turnberry. | John Minchillo/AP Photo


Months after Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, quit the lobbying firm he co-founded after the 2016 election, he appears to be working with a new one, reviving questions about whether he is still cashing in on his relationship with the president.

The firm, Turnberry Solutions LLC — a name that calls to mind Trump Turnberry, the president’s Scottish golf resort — is staffed by two lobbyists who worked for Lewandowski’s old firm. While Lewandowski has denied any link to the firm, there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Lewandowski was on a recent conference call between Turnberry and one of its clients, according to the client, and Turnberry also created an email address with his first name on it. A source familiar with the firm told POLITICO that Lewandowski also traveled to Poland earlier this month with two of Turnberry’s lobbyists to pitch the firm’s services to the Polish government.

It’s not clear when Lewandowski started working with Turnberry.

The firm started lobbying last month for two clients, Elio Motors and the Center for Sportfishing Policy, according to disclosure filings made public this week. The Turnberry lobbyists listed on the filings, Jason Osborne and Mike Rubino, are both veterans of Avenue Strategies, the lobbying firm Lewandowski started last year with another Trump campaign veteran, Barry Bennett. Lewandowski quit Avenue in May after a series of unflattering stories about him appearing to sell access to the White House.

According to a source with knowledge of the matter, Bennett fired Osborne in June after discovering that Osborne had told one of Avenue’s clients, the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, that he was leaving to start a new firm with Lewandowski.

Lewandowski has insisted he isn’t working with Turnberry.

“Get your facts right,” he said in a brief interview on Friday. “I have nothing to do with Turnberry Solutions.”

Osborne did not respond to requests for comment. Rubino initially agreed to an interview but later changed his mind. “Nothing to comment on,” Rubino wrote in an email. “It’s a business and we are lobbying on behalf of our clients. Which is something that happens across DC on a daily basis. There’s no news here and whatever additional news you publish is sensationalistic #fakenews.”

Elio Motors hired the fledgling firm after an Elio investor made an introduction this summer, according to Joel Sheltrown, Elio’s vice president for government affairs, who declined to name the investor. Elio is developing a super-economical three-wheeled car and was looking for help getting Congress to pass legislation that would clear up the regulations that apply to such vehicles. The company had previously retained a Democratic-leaning lobbying firm, Heather Podesta + Partners (which has since changed its name to Invariant), but scrapped the contract after Trump’s surprise victory.

“We felt we needed a firm with Republican ties,” Sheltrown said.

Lewandowski was on an initial conference call between the company and Turnberry, but Sheltrown said he didn’t know whether Lewandowski would play a role in advising or advocating for the company. “He knows a lot of people in D.C.,” Sheltrown said. “He may be able to facilitate a meeting for us.”

But Sheltrown said Osborne is doing the bulk of the work.

“If I’ve got an issue that I need some answers on, I call Jason. I don’t call Corey,” Sheltrown said. “If Jason has a question, I’m sure he calls Corey.”

Asked why he had a Turnberry email address, Lewandowski responded by text message. “My email is at Lewandowski Strategic advisors,” he wrote, referring to another firm he started after leaving Avenue. “Thanks for your continued interest in my daily life.”

Turnberry is also making overtures to foreign governments, according to a source familiar with the firm. Lewandowski, Rubino and Osborne flew to Poland earlier this month to pitch the Polish government, according to the source.

Lewandowski has touted his access to Trump outside his work with Turnberry, too. In a recent conversation with Elin Suleymanov, the Azerbaijani ambassador to the U.S., Lewandowski promised that he could get the Azerbaijani president a meeting with Trump, according to a source familiar with the exchange. Asked whether he had promised access, Lewandowski responded by text message: “No — I don’t do foreign work. Sorry.”

The ambassador said he didn’t have “any information” on whether Lewandowski works for Azerbaijan.

Lewandowski had a prime opportunity to hobnob last week with potential clients at an off-the-record luncheon discussion with Eric Bovim, a managing director at the Signal Group, a lobbying firm, at the Hay-Adams Hotel, across the street from the White House. About three dozen “ambassadors and corporate types” attended the luncheon, according to a source in the room, but Lewandowski “did not sell himself or his firm.”

Lewandowski denied pitching foreign governments and said it was “100 percent factually inaccurate” that he had gone to Poland. The Polish Embassy did not respond to requests for comment.

Lewandowski never registered as a lobbyist even while he was working for Avenue, and maintained that his consulting work didn’t meet the threshold for lobbying. After quitting Avenue in May, Lewandowski started a new firm, Lewandowski Strategic Advisors LLC, and signed Community Choice Financial, an Ohio payday lender, as one of his first clients.

But Lewandowski told The New York Times that he didn’t plan to register as a lobbyist.

“I don’t lobby and I don’t intend to lobby — ever,” Lewandowski wrote in an email.


#24 Yervant1


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Posted 29 September 2017 - 10:05 AM

Armenpress News Agency, Armenia
September 27, 2017 Wednesday

"Accusations against British MPs must be investigated" – UK minister
on Azerbaijani corruption scandal

YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 27, ARMENPRESS. UK’s Minister of State for Europe
and the Americas Alan Duncan commented on the corruption scandals
surrounding the Azerbaijani leadership.

During the September 27 “UK and Armenia-parliamentary democracy
partners” event in the Armenian Parliament, responding to Tsarukyan
faction MP Naira Zohrabyan’s question, Duncan stressed that if there
are accusations against British MPs regarding the corruption scandal,
then they must be investigated.

“I believe there is a difference between the activities of a minister
and a parliamentarian. We shouldn’t tell them what to do. As
ministers, we must maintain distance from the lawmakers’ actions. But
I think the same way as you do. If there are accusations against
British lawmakers, they must be investigated”, he said.

Commenting on Naira Zohrabyan’s statement that the names of British
MPs have been mentioned in the corruption scandal, Alan Duncan
stressed that he hasn’t seen the names of British lawmakers in the
case. He mentioned that British media like The Guardian and BBC
carried out the investigation to reveal the matter.

“In the last 40 years, Great Britain’s Conservative Party has been
regularly attacked by The Guardian. That’s why it has never been our
favorite newspaper, however they have always carried out serious
investigations in both international and domestic issues”, he said.

“We will continue our investigation with or without the Guardian”,
Vice Speaker of the Armenian Parliament Arpine Hovhannisyan said.

#25 Yervant1


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Posted 29 September 2017 - 10:15 AM

CTK National News Wire, Czech Republic
September 27, 2017 Wednesday 10:17 AM (Central European Time)

Azerbaijan may have received Czech arms via Israel - press

Prague, Sept 27 (CTK) - The Czech arms which recently appeared in a
video promotion of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces may have reached the
country across Israel, the daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) writes today.

The Bulgarian server Trud.bg speculates that disassembled weapons may
have been transported into Israel which would then be sending them via
diplomatic flights to Baku by the Azerbaijani Silk Way Airline, the
air routes of which Trud monitored over the summer.

According to two HN sources from the army community, the arms could
have been supplied to Azerbaijan via the Israeli company Elbit
Systems, which is a long-term partner of the Czechoslovak Group of
Czech arms dealer Jaroslav Strnad.

The Czech diplomacy officially states that it does not know how have
the modernised self-propelled gun howitzers Dana-M1 manufactured by
the Czechoslovak Group and rocket launchers RM-70 reached Azerbaijan,
which is subject to an arms embargo by the majority of EU member
states, including the Czech Republic.

Further sources of the daily from the Czech diplomatic and security
community said that the export of the arms components could have been
routed across Slovakia, where the Czechoslovak Group had received a
permission for the export of disassembled howitzers and rocket
launchers to Israel.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Irena Valentova confirmed on Tuesday that
the Czech vehicle manufacturer Tatra has exported specially modified
undercarriages to Azerbaijan.

"Just because it was a non-lethal materiel and with regard to the ban
on the export of military materiel to Azerbaijan," Valentova told HN.

Azerbaijan has been highly interesting for arms manufactures due to
its protracted conflict with Armenia since the early 1990's and the
country's financial resources due to its enormous crude oil and
natural gas reserves, the daily writes.

The Czech Centre for Investigative Journalism (CCIZ) noticed a flow of
money from Azerbaijan into the Czech Republic amounting to
approximately 40 million crowns that Azerbaijani citizens spent on
luxury watches and jewellery, it is not known, however, whether these
gifts were given to politicians, the daily quotes Pavla Holcova, a
CCIZ journalist.

There is a group of friends of Azerbaijan in the Czech Chamber of
Deputies which has 33 members, including its chairman Jan Hamacek, HN

Czech President Milos Zeman had also received a contribution of 2.5
million crowns for his presidential election campaign from Strnad, the
daily notes.

Andrej Cirtek, spokesman for the Czechoslovak Group, is quoted by the
daily as saying that in the sale of arms the company acts in
accordance with all valid laws and international rules.

($1=22.103 crowns)

#26 Yervant1


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Posted 30 September 2017 - 07:33 AM

More dirty laundry from fake sultan!

Bretton Woods Project

Sept 27 2017
Azerbaijani Laundromat to sully Bank’s reputation?

27 September 2017


TANAP stakeholders meet on 29 February 2016 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Credit: EEAS



  • Laundromat scandal raises new questions about World Bank’s TANAP loans
  • CSOs concerned about human rights abuses in Turkey and Azerbaijan
  • CSOs say proposed pipeline out-of-step with Paris Agreement


According to a September report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), “From 2012 to 2014 … members of [Azerbaijan’s] … ruling elite were using a secret slush fund to pay off European politicians, buy luxury goods, [and] launder money.” The scandal, dubbed the Azerbaijani Laundromat, saw $2.9 billion transacted through a series of shell companies. Among the Azeri politicians implicated in the scandal is first deputy prime minister Yaqub Eyyubov, who, according to OCCRP, has been tasked “with developing the oil-dependent country’s oil and gas strategy” since 2009.

In December, the World Bank’s board of directors approved two $400 million loans to Turkey and Azerbaijan, respectively, for construction of the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP). TANAP will stretch across Turkey, accounting for more than half of the proposed Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), a mega-project that will convey natural gas from the Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea region to Italy (see Observer Summer 2016). In December, the Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA, the World Bank’s political risk insurance arm) also proposeda guarantee of up to $950 million for TANAP against the risk of the non-honouring of a sovereign financial obligation. This guarantee would provide potential de-risking for ‘yet to be named’ investors, and would help cover Azerbaijan’s required contribution of $750 million towards the construction of TANAP.

Civil society raises concerns about TANAP

A September letter from four CSOs, including Counter Balance and BankWatch, to UK newspaper The Guardian published on 6 September suggested that covert payments to European politicians uncovered by the Laundromat scandal may be linked to the SGC, calling it the “elephant in the room” that has been absent from media reports. The letter stated, “Azerbaijan is particularly keen to present a positive image in Europe because it needs significant European support for its flagship project – the Southern Gas Corridor – despite the regime’s serial human rights abuses, systemic corruption and election rigging.” Decisions on proposed loans from European multilateral banks for construction of the SGC are imminent. The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) board is to vote on a $1 billion loan for TANAP’s construction on 18 October. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is due to consider a $2 billion loan for construction of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the final leg of the SGC connecting TANAP to Italy via Greece and Albania, on 18 October, and is expected to vote on its proposed $500 million loan to TANAP by the end of the year.

“In addition to contributing to human rights violations in Azerbaijan and Turkey, NGOs have repeatedly highlighted that, in a post-Paris Agreement world, it is no time for public development banks to finance fossil fuel projects."Xavier Sol, Counter Balance

Additionally, a September letter from 25 CSOs, including Both ENDS and Crude Accountability, to the EIB noted, “In March this year, the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) suspended Azerbaijan’s membership as a result of a crackdown on civil society organizations. This was followed by the Azeri government deciding to quit the EITI.” Azerbaijan’s withdrawal from EITI came despite the World Bank’s board acknowledging in the chair’s summary of the TANAP loan approval in December, “the need for continued dialogue with Azerbaijan on [EITI] and ensuring that efforts are made towards restoration of its membership status.”

CSOs have been critical of multilateral development banks’ support for TANAP, owning to serious concerns about human rights violations in both Azerbaijan and Turkey and the negative environmental impact of the SGC project (see Observer Summer 2016). Xavier Sol from Counter Balance said, “In addition to contributing to human rights violations in Azerbaijan and Turkey, NGOs have repeatedly highlighted that, in a post-Paris Agreement world, it is no time for public development banks to finance fossil fuel projects. In addition, this project – if completed – would do little to provide additional energy security to the European Union, and would be detrimental to the diversification of the Azeri economy.”




#27 Yervant1


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Posted 08 October 2017 - 08:35 AM

Panorama, Armenia
Oct 7 2017
  Pedro Agramunt avoided total humiliation - MP Naira Zohrabyan


The President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Pedro Agramunt avoided total humiliation on October 9 - on the first day of the PACE autumn session, member of the Armenian delegation to PACE, MP Naira Zohrabyan told in an interview to Panorama.am. 
“The corrupt lobbyists should have no place in reputable international structures. October 9 was expected to become the last nail into the coffin of Argument’s political activity, therefor he resigned at the recommendation of his political doctors (I am sure he has no health problems except the one related to morality) to escape the final accord of humiliation. However, as the saying goes, this is the beginning of the end, as the Pandora’s box is now open.  We see a clear socio-political demand emerging in European structures to investigate all the minor and big actors involved in the “Azerbaijani Laundromat” by President Ilham Aliyev and to hold them accountable,” Zohrabyan said. 
The Armenian lawmaker pointed to the case of the Belgian MP Alain Destexhe who resigned from PACE due to the involvement in the Azerbaijani Laundromat scandal and for being “Aliyev’s loyal client” after the relevant reports came under the spotlight of the European media. 
“People like Agramunt are everywhere, yet they will undoubtedly carry responsibility. The independent commission set up by the June 27 PACE resolution will be able to investigate the actions of people like Agramunt and uncover Aliyev’s dark deals,” added Zohrabyan. 
To remind, Agramunt has been the target of substantial criticism following his decision unauthorized trip to Syria, along with two other PACE members, and meeting with President Bashar al-Assad. On June 27, the PACE adopted a resolution, which made certain amendments in the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly. The PACE initiated the above-mentioned amendments to dismiss President Pedro Agramunt, since the latter has lost his confidence in the Assembly, failing to submit resignation voluntarily.
Zohrabyan next insisted the Council of Europe should initiate the process of kicking off Azerbaijan from the Council of Europe. 
“Days ago, at a meeting with members of the EU Political and Security Committee President Aliyev declared that if Azerbaijan leaves the Council of Europe, noone will pay any attention to that, nothing will change in their lives and they will not become any better or worse, richer or poorer. Imagine such a statement from the head of a member state to CoE. After all this shouldn’t we initiate the issue of expulsion of Azerbaijan from the organization?” Zohrabyan concluded.

#28 Yervant1


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Posted 08 October 2017 - 08:43 AM

ARMINFO News Agency, Armenia
October 6, 2017 Friday

EU lawmaker: Azerbaijan intended to expand its "bribery" network,
including more and more European politicians

Yerevan October 6

Tatevik Shahunyan. According to the information, the Azerbaijani
authorities bribed not only PACE member Luke Volont, German
parliamentarian Eduard Lintner and former head of the Assembly Pedro
Agramunt, but intended to expand their "bribery network", including
more and more European politicians. The PACE has already begun an
investigation into this matter, and maybe it will reveal more facts.
This was stated by the deputy of the European Parliament from
Luxembourg Frank Engel, writes The Budapest Beacon.

According to him, in Brussels there are so-called "non-governmental
organizations", which are controlled by the Azerbaijani government,
and they can have connections not only with the members of the
European Parliament, but also with other influential institutions.
Further, the parliamentarian notes that Azerbaijan is also known for
corruption, violation of human rights and dictatorial form of
government, and, nevertheless, is a member of the Council of Europe,
having many friends among the politicians of the European Parliament.
"And this leads to suspicions why the European MEPs should belong to
the country in which all this negativity is flourishing,"
Engel said,
suggesting that the extradition of the murderer of the Armenian
officer Ramil Safarov to Hungary was also the result of bribery.
According to him, the international community and the European Union
should take a firmer stance on the Karabakh conflict, since the
population of Karabakh is under constant threat because of such as

On 4 September, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project
(OCCRP) published an investigation on its website called the
"Azerbaijan Landmass." In a joint journalistic The investigation,
which also involved Suddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), Barron's (USA), Le
Monde (France), The Guardian (Great Britain), Bivol (Bulgaria) and
others, said that the Azerbaijani authorities used fictitious
companies in the UK for laundering 2.9 billion dollars. This money was
used to bribe European politicians who lobbied Azerbaijan's interests
in the EU and blocked resolutions condemning human rights violations
in the former Soviet republic. All this took place against the
backdrop of mass arrests of activists and journalists in Azerbaijan,
representatives of the ruling elite of the country used the secret
"black cash desk" to pay bribes to European politicians, purchase of
luxury goods, money laundering and other self-serving purposes.

#29 Yervant1


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Posted 08 October 2017 - 08:55 AM

Immoral sub human!!!!! Politician for hire, I hope the rest learns from this humiliation.


Pro-Azerbaijani PACE President Steps Down

Pro-Azerbaijani President of PACE Pedro Agramunt resigned Friday

STRASBOURG, France—The embattled pro-Azerbaijani president of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe, Pedro Agramunt, stepped down from his post on Friday citing “personal reasons.”

“Due to personal reasons today I decided to step down as head of the parliamentary assembly of the council of Europe,” Agramunt said in a post on Twitter, adding that he had taken the decision in consultation with his doctors.

PACE lawmakers were expected to impeach Agramunt during the October session of the parliamentary assembly and in April gave him a vote of no confidence, essentially barring him from presiding over the body.

The PACE officially affirmed Agramunt’s resignation. The organization’s senior vice-president, Britain’s Roger Gale, will serve as acting president for the body until a new election is held.

“Following the resignation the most senior Vice President, Sir Roger Gale automatically became the acting President,” reads an announcement posted on the PACE website.

In 2016, the European Stability Initiative in its report, described Agramunt as an ally of Azerbaijan.

“There are very few fellow members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) who have been to Azerbaijan as regularly over the past decade as Pedro Agramunt, the conservative Spanish senator, a businessman from Valencia. Agramunt has been consistent in this approach to Azerbaijan: from the very beginning of his relationship with Baku he has been a defender of the Aliyev regime. The latest monitoring report is his masterpiece,” the ESI report stated.

During the fall 2015 session of PACE, Agramunt emerged as a proponent of a resolution adopted by a sub-committee, which was authored by British Member of Parliament Robert Walter, whose report was pro-Azerbaijani and in the summer was granted Turkish citizenship.

Following the passage of the resolution and another, which centered on the use of the Sarsang Reservoir in Artsakh, the OSCE Minks Group co-chairmen warned international organizations to not interfere in the Karabakh conflict resolution processes issuing a similar rebuke to PACE.

Members of Armenia’s delegation commented on the Agramunt resignation, with Naira Zohrabyan telling Armenpress on Friday that the resignation announcement was made in order to avoid further humilitation.

She said if Agramunt were impeached, he would “go away with maximum humiliation. Therefore, in order to go away with minimal humiliation, he resigned.” She also commented on Agramunt’s claim that he had consulted his medical team before making the decision, saying that he made the decision “in line with the recommendation of his ‘political doctors.’”

Samvel Farmanyan, another PACE member from Armenia said that Argamunt made the decision to avoid impeachment during the session scheduled for Monday.

The PACE shows signs of rehabilitation,” Farmanyan said in a Facebook post.

Since PACE has announced investigations into the conduct of its members, with a focus on Azerbaijan lobbyists paying PACE members for favorable votes, Baku has expressed trepidations about the European body, with its president, Ilham Aliyev, threating to exit the Council of Europe.




#30 Yervant1


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Posted 11 October 2017 - 08:12 AM

Put your money where your mouth is! Talk is cheap, action is needed. 

Panorama, Armenia

Oct 10 2017
Armenian MP urges PACE to impose sanctions on Azerbaijan

Member of the Armenia delegation to Parliamentary Assemble to the Council of Europe (PACE), Armenian MP Mikayel Melkumyan insists on imposing sanctions against Azerbaijan following a series of stories surfaced in international media named “Azerbaijani laundromat” that described various mechanisms of using $2.9 billion slush fund to buy influence across Europe.

Melkumyan’s suggestion came on the second day of the Assembly autumn session underway in Strasbourg.

“We have plenty of facts, as reflected in international media among other things, with exact references to the type and size of the bribes, therefore the time has come to impose sanctions against the country and its delegation in the Assembly,” Melkumyan declared in his remarks, warning against negative consequences of inaction on behalf of the organization.

The MP noted that amid the decrease of oil process the Azerbaijani economy and public life have occurred in a deep crisis

“What is going in Azerbaijan, where even reporters are abducted from a neighboring country and imprisoned with fabricated charges. They spend huge sums in different international structures, bribe various officials to maintain a positive image for the country. It is unimaginable to think number of international media outlets, the likes of The Guardian to spread disinformation. As the saying goes there is no smoke without fire,” concluded Melkumyan.




#31 Yervant1


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Posted 11 October 2017 - 08:23 AM

Keep up the pressure and keep it in the news until action is taken!

MediaMax, Armenia

Oct 10 2017
Armenian MP mentions Azerbaijani Laundromat at a meeting with German diplomat


Yerevan/Mediamax/. Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations of Armenian National Assembly, Armen Ashotyan noted that Armenia-EU relations facilitate stability of the region.



He made that statement at the meeting with Andreas Peschke, Director for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia at the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, and Bundestag members Hartmut Koschyk and Stephan Mayer on October 9.

Touching on bilateral relations between Armenia and Germany, Armen Ashotyan noted the Armenian side is ready to make necessary efforts in order to develop and strengthen cooperation with the newly elected Bundestag.

Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations attached importance to Germany’s balanced position in the NK issue settlement.

Armen Ashotyan also mentioned the topic of Azerbaijani Laundromat and noted that a comprehensive investigation was in order to keep international and national parliaments out of corruption scandals.




#32 Yervant1


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Posted 11 October 2017 - 08:27 AM

Armenpress News Agency , Armenia
October 9, 2017 Monday

Armenian MP calls at PACE to disclose Hungary-Azerbaijan corruption
deal on selling Ramil Safarov

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 9, ARMENPRESS. Naira Zohrabyan – member of the
Armenian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of
Europe (PACE), called on the members of the Council of Europe to
reveal the involvement of their lawmakers in the recent corruption
scandals linked with the Assembly, reports Armenpress.

The Armenian MP also urged the representatives of Hungarian delegation
at PACE to find out how Hungary sold murderer Ramil Safarov to Baku
for 7.6 million USD.

Naira Zohrabyan delivered remarks at the PACE autumn plenary session
touching upon the resignation of Pedro Agramunt and the recent
corruption scandals involving European lawmakers and the need to
disclose them.

“Pedro Agramunt, known as ‘Don Corruption’, resigned on October 6 by
the calls of his political doctors. I congratulate those PACE
lawmakers who didn’t allow the PACE name to be identified with
corruption where someone can buy, sell, re-sell a lawmaker and force
to serve his country’s authoritarian agenda. But whether putting an
end on Pedro Agramunt is enough to clean up the corruption cobweb from
the PACE face? It becomes clear that different European figures are
involved in the famous corruption scandal who for years have received
huge amount of money from the Danske Bank Estonia branch. I hope our
colleagues of the Hungarian delegation will address a question to
their country’s political leadership over the scandalous disclosure
according to which Hungary has sold murderer Ramil Safarov for 7.6
million USD who killed Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan with an axe
while he was sleeping. I think our Hungarian colleagues will be
interested in how millions of dollars have been transferred to a bank
account opened by Metastar Invest in the Hungarian MKB bank and how
these bank accounts are linked with Hungary’s political leadership. I
would like to remind that the Metastar Invest is the company which
regularly transferred money to former PACE Vice-President Luca Volontè
who most probably at the moment tells to the Italian prosecution about
his warm relationship with his totalitarian friend”, Naira Zohrabyan

The Armenian lawmaker said during the PACE June session they have
supported the creation of independent investigative body which
impartially investigates all corruption cases linked with the
Assembly’s activity. “There are numerous similar facts which have
recently been the subject of international media. I join the statement
of the President of Transparency International who said ‘it’s just
shocking to see how certain political figures are being sold in a
respected structure like PACE and close their eyes on corruption and
human rights violations’. Recently the Seimas of Lithuania has
appealed to the country’s financial crimes investigative body urging
to investigative the possible involvement of Lithuanian figures in the
corruption scandals linked with the PACE. I hope many CoE countries
will follow Lithuania’s example and I assure that many supporters of
Don Pedro will have to ask for a political asylum from the country
nourishing them”.

#33 MosJan


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Posted 17 October 2017 - 04:47 PM


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Posted 17 October 2017 - 04:55 PM

#35 Yervant1


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Posted 22 October 2017 - 10:09 AM

Two Australian Lawmakers Call Out Azerbaijan

The Hon. David Feeney (ALP) on the left and Government MP, John Alexander (Liberal) on the right (Photo: ANC-AU)

CANBERRA, Australia – Following meetings with the Armenian National Committee of Australia’s (ANC-AU) largest ever Advocacy Week delegation, two Members of Federal Parliament rose in the House of Representatives on Thursday to condemn Azerbaijan for failing peace in Nagorno Karabakh.

Opposition MP, the Hon. David Feeney (ALP) blasted government Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, who after a recent visit to Azerbaijan spoke in favor of the oil-dictatorship’s “territorial integrity” when referring to Artsakh. His speech also exposed the Azerbaijani Laundromat saga, which has revealed the “cash for favorable coverage” campaign being run by the Aliyev regime in Western countries.

Government MP, John Alexander (Liberal) followed Feeney, exposing the fact that the Republic of Artsakh is ready for extra monitoring to promote peace in their region, but Azerbaijan was not.

Feeney, who is the Member for Batman in Victoria, said: “In recent weeks leaked data has revealed that Azerbaijan’s ruling elite operated a secret $2.9 billion scheme to launder money and pay prominent Europeans, including journalists and politicians.”

“This unfolding scandal shows that the Azerbaijani leadership, already accused by Amnesty International and other NGOs of serial human rights abuses, systemic corruptions and rigging elections, made more than 16,000 covert payments from 2012 to 2014 through a network of opaque British companies.”

“Investigations led by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project have revealed that these illicit payments, using reputable banks and secret companies, aimed to buy political influence and launder Azerbaijan’s international image. Just this week, the ASIO annual report warned that foreign governments have been attempting to shape the opinions of the public and the media in covert influence operations.


Snapshots from Advocacy Week in Australia (Photo: ANC-AU)

Turning to Fierravanti-Wells’s contribution to this issue, Feeney added: “New South Wales Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells visited Azerbaijan recently. Upon her return she stated on the public record, ‘Australia is a forthright supporter of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and strongly supports Azerbaijan’s position on Nagorno-Karabakh.'”

“This bold statement rewrites Australian foreign policy and disregards Australia’s longstanding support of the OSCE Minsk Group peace efforts for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the principles of equal rights and the self-determination of people. I urge the senator to not give in to caviar diplomacy.”

Alexander, who is the Member for Bennelong, told the House of Representatives: “On 17 October the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe called for a meeting with the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to discuss the de-escalation of tensions on the border of the still unrecognized Armenian-populated Republic of Artsakh, previously known as Nagorno-Karabakh.”

“Since the ceasefire between the two countries in 1994, the OSCE has been responsible for promoting negotiations, ceasefire monitoring and conflict resolution.”

He explained: “Three immediate priorities for the de-escalation of tensions have been proposed. The first is the removal of snipers along the line of contact, the second is the increase in the number of OSCE monitors in the region and the third is the establishing of gunfire locator systems as an investigative measurement to determine which side is responsible for future ceasefire violations.”

“These suggestions apply to both sides of the conflict. Armenia is ready to accept the OSCE recommendations; Azerbaijan is not. OSCE suggested that confidence- and security-building measures are a prerequisite for not only the advancement of negotiations but also the stabilization of the region through deterring future aggression.”

“As an OSCE Partner for Co-operation, Australia has a role to play.”

The two speeches completed a week of advocacy for the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU), where issues including justice for the Armenian Genocide, Artsakh’s rights for self-determination and more local community issues, including refugee resettlement, were discussed with over 30 legislators and bureaucrats.

“We thank Mr. Feeney and Mr. Alexander for their statements,” said ANC-AU Managing Director, Vache Kahramanian. “It is a groundbreaking day for Artsakh advocacy in Australia when two politicians from the country’s two major parties rise consecutively to condemn an aggressive and corrupt Azeri regime, while promoting the rights to self-determination that will bring peace and protect the Armenians of the Nagorno Karabakh region.”

On the evening of Tuesday 17th October, a special screening of the Armenian Genocide-era Hollywood epic, The Promise took place at the Australian Parliament House (click here to read report).

The 11-strong ANC-AU delegation was joined by ANC America Communications Director, Elizabeth Chouldjian, who is the organization’s guest speaker at its Annual Banquet on Friday, 20th October.

Watch video of Feeney statement by clicking here.

Watch video of Alexander statement by clicking here.



#36 Yervant1


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Posted 28 October 2017 - 10:50 AM

Angela Merkel’s CDU Party Received Donations from Azerbaijan




Angela Merkel

BONN, Germany (Deutsche Welle) – Germany’s CDU party has received donations from a state-run Azerbaijani company, a German media consortium reported. The affair again highlights links between conservative politicians and the Central Asian dictatorship.

A district chapter of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU) received €28,000 ($33,114) from the state-run Azerbaijani oil and gas company Socar in contravention of German rules on party donations, a consortium of public broadcasters NDR, WDR and daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

The case again calls into question connections between certain conservative politicians and the South Caucasian republic, whose leader, President Ilham Aliyev, has been criticized by human rights organizations.

According to the report, two payments, one of €3,000 and one of €25,000, were deposited by Socar’s Germany-based branch on the account of the CDU’s district association in Frankfurt at the end of February 2012.

No fine for the CDU

The affair had caused a four-year-long legal dispute with the parliamentary administration authority behind the scenes, the report said, since German law prohibits parties from receiving donations from non-EU countries.

Although the district CDU branch accepted the donation without question, auditors at party headquarters in Berlin notified the Administration of the German Bundestag, which decided as early as autumn 2013 that the gift was not allowable under the law. The CDU then gave up the donation to be immediately impounded, the report said.

However, despite having broken the law, the party will not have to pay a fine, largely owing to a ruling made by an administrative court in April that self-denunciation in such cases can not only mitigate penalties, but even avert them altogether.

Mysterious links

The affair has raised several questions about links between the conservative CDU/CSU bloc and Azerbaijan, and what objectives the country could be pursuing with its donations.

The German CEO of Socar, Anders Egen Mamedov, was quoted by the paper as saying that the company’s contacts with political officials was taking place “against the background of the geopolitical importance of Azerbaijan and Socar,” including with regard to the pipeline network through seven countries that is currently under construction.

The massive gas pipeline project was chosen over the Nabucco-West pipeline in 2013 with the support of the then EU commissioner for energy, the German CDU politician Günther Oettinger.

Mamedov said Socar also made donations to sports and cultural associations in Germany. He declined to give details or speak about possible donations to other German of European parties to the paper.

Lobbying activities

The Süddeutsche also pointed to CDU parliamentarian Karin Strenz, who according to the paper did not disclose her work for an Azerbaijan-financed lobbying firm within three months as asked. The company is owned by former CSU politician Eduard Lintner, who has been doing lobbying work for Azerbaijan since 2009.

In another possible indication of her sympathies with the authoritarian country, in June 2015 Strenz voted against a resolution by the Council of Europe to call on Azerbaijan to release its political prisoners — the only German MP to do so, according to an earlier report in the paper.

Azerbaijan was described in a resolution by the European Parliament in September 2015 as “having suffered the greatest decline in democratic governance in all of Eurasia over the past 10 years.”




#37 Yervant1


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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:20 AM

Pan Armenian, Armenia
Nov 11 2017
November 11, 2017 - 11:01 AMT
Armenian Assembly calls for public hearings on Turkish interference

Amid reports that Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be filing new indictments after probing a potential quid pro quo scheme, whereby then National Security Adviser Michael Flynn would be paid $15 million to secretly carry out Turkey's bidding, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) calls for thorough public Congressional hearings to fully expose these matters.

Flynn was already paid $530,000 last year for work the Justice Department says benefited the government of Turkey, and did not register as a foreign agent at the time.

The Assembly has repeatedly highlighted Turkey's attempts to gain surreptitious influence over U.S. officials and media to the detriment of U.S. national security, and has urged investigations therein. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Member, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), in a June 2017 op-ed in The Hill titled "Did Turkey's payments to Michael Flynn delay our military operations against ISIS?" stated that "questions regarding Turkey, however, reveal most clearly how personal considerations may have overridden our national interests." In addition, the Assembly has also highlighted Azerbaijan's attempts to undermine western democratic values and institutions through the billions it has spent in the "Laundromat scheme" to buy silence. Investigations are now bearing fruit. The Assembly has also urged with some success those Representatives who joined the Turkish and Azeri Caucuses to withdraw.

"The latest news regarding secret payments to Michael Flynn to carry out Turkey's bidding are just the tip of the iceberg," stated Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian. "Illegal Turkish and Azerbaijani money has been flowing into D.C. and we have an obligation to immediately stop these corrupting practices. Beyond thorough investigations and indictments, exposure through public hearings and legislative reform to increase reporting and penalties are necessary to stop officials who can be bought by the Erdogans and Aliyevs of the world from hijacking the American government," they added. "Members ought not to associate themselves with such corrupt and authoritarian regimes. Given Turkey's treatment of Christians, dangerously rogue behavior, denial of the Armenian Genocide and support for Azerbaijan's ISIS-style beheadings and other attacks, it is well past time for Members of Congress to withdraw their membership from the Turkish and Azeri Congressional Caucuses."

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501©(3) tax-exempt membership organization.


#38 Yervant1


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Posted 17 November 2017 - 04:45 PM

Armenpress News Agency , Armenia
November 16, 2017 Thursday

PACE to discuss Azerbaijani Laundromat money laundering scandal as
separate report

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 16, ARMENPRESS. The Legal Affairs Committee of PACE
has addressed money laundering, including the “Azerbaijani
Laundromat”, Armenian Parliament Vice-Speaker, head of Armenia’s
delegation to PACE Arpine Hovhannisyan said on Facebook.

Hovhannisyan said it is noteworthy that the Azerbaijani Laundromat
will be discussed as a separate report at the initiative of the
committee itself.

She said that the PACE co- rapporteurs verbally presented the
developments of Armenia in the Monitoring Committee, while the Armenia
report will be discussed during the next sittings.

The political affairs committee discussed two reports relating to the
financing of the Islamic State, as well as the consequences of the
Syrian Conflict on the region.

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 11:23 AM

Emerging Europe
Nov 22 2017

The Azerbaijani Laundromat: Why It Matters

About Audrey L Altstadt

Audrey L. Altstadt is Professor of History at the University of
Massachusetts Amherst. She is the author of several dozen articles
published in the US, Europe, Turkey, and Azerbaijan, and of three
books, most recently The Politics of Culture in Soviet Azerbaijan,
1920-1940 (Routledge, 2016) and Frustrated Democracy in Post-Soviet
Azerbaijan (Woodrow Wilson Centre Press and Columbia University Press,
2017.) She has been a consultant with the US Foreign Service
Institute, the Department of Justice, the US Institute of Peace,
Freedom House. She has been a fellow at Harvard’s Davis Russian
Research Centre, the Kennan Institute, and the Woodrow Wilson
International Centre for Scholars. She was also awarded an Honorary
Doctorate in 2000 by Khazar University in Baku.

Money laundering may not be theft, but it is a product of theft.
Sources of laundered money may include illegal activities such as
trafficking in drugs or humans, or it may be diverted income from
natural resources, inflated costs, bribes, fake loans, or other
financial manipulation. The money might be stolen from the state, in
the form of unpaid taxes or other charges, or from the people of a
country – as with stolen revenues from the sale of natural resources
from oil to diamonds. Money laundering thus reflects economic and
moral damage to individuals and institutions and thereby threatens the
stability and security of states, societies, and regions.

In September, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project
(OCCRP), in partnership with more than a dozen European and US news
organisations, broke the story of an Azerbaijani laundromat which
“cleaned” 2.5 billion euros (almost 3 billion US dollars) in a
two-year period using UK-registered shell companies and a European

The news was hardly surprising to those who follow Azerbaijan. In
2012, the OCCRP named Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev its Person of
the Year. At that time the OCCRP cited not only the deep corruption in
the country, but the thorough documentation of various types of
corruption by the ruling family and associated oligarchs. As
subsequent revelations affirm, Aliyev fully deserved the 2012 OCCRP

The recent “Azerbaijani Laundromat” report traces the routing of
payments from 2012 to 2014 in bundles of tens to hundreds of thousands
of euros. The origin of these millions is murky. Some came from
Azerbaijani ministries, some from the Russian arms exporter
Rosoboronexport and other actual companies. The largest single source
(about 1.4 billion US dollars) came from the International Bank of
Azerbaijan (IBA), from accounts linked to “mystery” companies whose
business activities, or even websites or physical locations, cannot be

Turning a Blind Eye

Some of the money was used to purchase luxury goods. Large sums were
apparently spent to influence businessmen and influential political
figures particularly in the Council of Europe. Most of the money went
to other shell companies registered in the UK as well as entities in
the UAE and Turkey, showing that this report, though extensive and
complex, probably does not cover the full scope of the money flow.
Payments went through the Estonian branch of the Danske Bank where
bank officials, says the report, turned a “blind eye” to the large

Aligning money transfers with specific actions of influential European
recipients, OCCRP and its partners make a strong case for Azerbaijan
buying influence. From a human rights vantage point, the most
distressing series of payments was to deputies in the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Italy’s Luca Volonté and
German’s Eduard Lintner. At present, Volonté is being prosecuted in
Italy for corruption and prosecutors say he worked to quash a PACE
report on political prisoners in Azerbaijan. Ilham Aliyev used the
failure of PACE to adopt its own commission’s report to claim there
were no political prisoners in Azerbaijan. Volonté received nearly 2
million euros from the Azerbaijani laundromat.

Lintner, a German parliamentarian and later PACE deputy, received
large payments from the laundromat during his service as an election
monitor. He got one payment just after his claim that Azerbaijan’s
2013 presidential elections – denounced as not free or fair by
domestic, US, and OSCE monitors – were up to German standards. He got
another when a domestic critic of those elections was arrested.
Lintner ultimately received a total of 820,000 euros (just over 1
million US dollars) between 2012 and 2014.

The story is reminiscent of the Russian laundromat, reported by OCCRP
in 2014 which involved much more money – 30 billion US dollars –
reflecting no doubt the greater size and complexity of the Russian
economy and the greater number of oligarchs. More important, both
operations involved 33 of the same companies, illustrating another
aspect of strong post-Soviet bonds between the two energy-producing
and corrupt former Soviet republics.

Naming & Shaming

The scope of this international activity makes observers wonder what
might be done to curtail the money laundering on which bribery and
theft depend. The damage of criminal behavior is significant and it is
both material and moral. Money is diverted from stated business
purposes, which in the case of oil revenues is stolen from the people
of the country who may be considered its owners and the rightful
beneficiaries of its sale.[1] Money of uncertain origin goes into the
pockets of influential European political figures. When such
subversion of judgment affects the Council of Europe, it casts doubt
on the Council’s own integrity and plays into the hands of
authoritarian propagandists who argue that Western institutions are
corrupt, so they are no worse. The propagandists can blur the lines
between institutions that strive to uphold the law and those that
flout it while claiming they represent a legitimate variation on the

Watchdog groups and human rights organisations, if they are unable to
bring legal action to bear or if it fails, have tried “naming and
shaming.” Sceptics doubt the efficacy of this tactic noting that
perpetrators of high-level crime such as international money
laundering, might be named but hardly shamed. The case of Azerbaijan
over the last decade, highlighted by the laundromat report, suggests
we revisit the strategy and arguments against it. Although the
perpetrators themselves seem shameless, not all their partners are
immune to the shame of publicity and public criticism.

Despite rampant global corruption, there are still laws and ethical
standards and there are still entities that strive to conform to them.
There are still international organisations that want, or can be
compelled, to uphold their own stated norms and ideals. Sponsors can
withdraw advertising and other support if their business partners
complain or shame them. Thus corruption can be made more difficult and
more costly.

The 2012 report Caviar Diplomacy, produced by European Stability
Initiative (ESI), documented Azerbaijani gifts and payments to CoE
members. After five years, the report was used to force the
resignation this past October of PACE President Pedro Agramunt,
considered a supporter of the Aliyev regime who quashed criticism of
Azerbaijan’s human rights record and mismanaged corruption charges
against CoE deputies.

International financial institutions (IFIs) that articulate
transparency and ethical standards among their basic principles have
not always followed those as a guide to their investments especially
in countries that produce oil, gas or need vast and lucrative
infrastructure investments. The World Bank has had a troubled history
in this regard.[2] In recent months the NGO Crude Accountability has
called on IFIs to link their investments more closely to transparency
and honesty/ legality. A present director of the European Bank for
Research and Development is identified in the Azerbaijani laundromat
as a recipient of more than 800,000 Euros.

Finally, naming and shaming deprives collaborators of an important
tool – claiming they did not know of illegality and abuses. Moreover,
naming and shaming – and documenting – gives ammunition to people and
organizations that fight for transparency, legality, and responsible
management of resources, and against erosion of the rule of law.

Creating a safe haven for one batch of money launderers puts out the
welcome mat for other crooks. Money laundering and other forms of
corruption are already infecting the international financial system
and aiding the drift of wealth to the top 1 per cent. Transparency
efforts can be used to stop it or international actors can be
complicit. There is no middle ground.

[1] This is the position of the Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative (EITI).

[2] For this and similar cases in Azerbaijan, see Audrey L. Altstadt,
Frustrated Democracy in Post-Soviet Azerbaijan, (Woodrow Wilson Center
Press and Columbia University Press, 2017), Chapter 4.

The views expressed in this opinion editorial are the author’s own and
do not necessarily reflect Emerging Europe’s editorial policy.


#40 Yervant1


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Posted 30 November 2017 - 02:58 PM

Panorama, Armenia
Nov 30 2017
Investigative journalists raise Azerbaijan’s laundromat at the European Parliament committee

Investigations into a slush fund used by Azerbaijan’s ruling class to pay off politicians in Europe looked similar to the Ta’ Xbiex-based Pilatus Bank case, The Times of Malta reported, adding the case was brought to a European Parliament committee heard on Tuesday.

As, Eva Jung, an investigative journalist who helped expose a complex $2.9 billion money-laundering scheme known as the Azerbaijani laundromat, said the methods and procedures exposed in Malta looked similar.

At least three European politicians, a journalist who wrote stories friendly to the regime and businessmen who praised the government were among the recipients of Azerbaijani laundromat money. Ms Jung said no Maltese politicians were exposed in the Azerbaijani laundromat.
Citing Maltese media reports, Ms Jung told the committee money flows from a Dubai-registered company controlled by the ruling Aliyev family in Azerbaijan were filtered through Pilatus Bank to Panama companies owned by Maltese politicians.

Simon Bendtsen, another investigative journalist, said payments in the Azerbaijani laundromat passed through Danske Bank in Estonia through the use of four shell companies in the UK.

It is reminded that a team of journalists analysed over 16,000 leaked transactions from Danske Bank. They found money was transferred from either State-owned companies or by powerful Azeris with close ties to the country’s elite. Large amounts of money from Azerbaijan, including from the “very powerful” Ministry for Emergency Situations, flowed through Danske Bank to European politicians, the committee heard.

The Times of Malta has reported that a front man for the Minister for Emergency Situations, Kamladdin Heydarov, opened a number of companies in Malta, linked to Pilatus Bank. The companies were set up by Nexia BT soon after Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his chief of staff, Keith Schembri, and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi visited Azerbaijan in December 2014.

Nexia BT were the same financial advisers used to open Panama companies for Mr Schembri and Dr Mizzi, sheltered by trusts in New Zealand, which were not declared to the local tax authorities.

Slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had reported that Mr Heydarov was Pilatus Bank’s biggest client, with millions being deposited there.


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