Azerbaijan - Global Laundromatit is getting hot...
Posted 26 April 2018 - 03:39 AM
- MosJan likes this
Posted 26 April 2018 - 09:19 AM
Thanks Gams, I'll post the translated article just in case they remove it after a while!
The Council of Europe accuses the senator of the PP Pedro Agramunt of corruption
The visit to the Syrian president, Bachar el Asad, in March of 2017 was the last straw in a sea of corruption orchestrated by the Spanish Pedro Agramunt. This senator of the Popular Party, former president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, participated for years in a corrupt strategy that conditioned decisions of this European body and reached its zenith with the meeting held in Damascus with the Syrian leader, behind the back of the Council of Europe. The independent investigation commissioned by this body, guardian of democracy and human rights in 47 European countries, has credited on Monday a "strong suspicion" that Agramunt was part of that scheme and that he used it to rise to the presidency .
Strange donations that boosted his candidacy for the presidency of this assembly, watches and liquors offered by political offices in Eastern countries and even suspicions of prostitution populate the report of the independent body of investigation disclosed by the Council of Europe. In almost 200 pages distributed with the organization's letterhead, the text includes the alleged corrupt practices carried out by several members of the assembly, including Agramunt, with the main objective of silencing the Council's criticisms of Azerbaijan. This politician of the Valencian PP, who had to leave the presidency of the Assembly of the Council of Europe after an unusual process of loss of confidence on the part of the institution,He maneuvered to get hold of that dossier and soften European criticisms of a country characterized by the lack of democratic mechanisms and the repression of opponents. He managed to stay ahead of the institution between January 2016 and October 2017.
Based on different studies - including the European Stability Initiative ideas laboratory, which uncovered the so-called caviar diplomacy exercised by the Azeri regime - the document highlights the "links between the success of Agramunt's career and his friendship with Azerbaijan." The authorities of this country provided 200,000 euros to boost his candidacy for the presidency of this body, according to the Freedom Files investigation. Other parliamentarians also received money "for them to run for different positions [in the Parliamentary Assembly] that would allow them to control the resolutions or influence them," he adds. This neighboring country of Russia spent 30 million euros on these pressure activities.
Beyond the suspicions of others, Agramunt himself offered some clue to his usual handling of large amounts of cash before the outbreak of the scandal of the visit to Syria. To distance the focus of that trip, for which Agramunt did not ask for authorization, the senator said that his hotel room in Strasbourg had been raided in the days after the meeting with El Asad. As a sign that what the alleged perpetrators were looking for was data, not money, he alleged that in his room there was "an envelope with 15,000 euros in cash that had not been touched," a witness told investigators. Far from exculpating him, Agramunt's words reinforced suspicions of bribes.
This work considers proven that Agramunt "played a key role in the adoption of several decisions of the Assembly perceived, directly or indirectly, as favorable to Azerbaijan". Even violated the rules of the institution to reveal to the Azeri authorities a confidential report on that country. Next, he "received instructions" about what he should include in those reports for which he was responsible. "There is evidence that Agramunt intervened in draft reports to soften criticism of the Azerbaijani authorities," the researchers point out.
From the beginning, the senator showed interest in getting this dossier. Agramunt himself intervened so that another member of the PP, the Swedish Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin, desisted from aspiring to be responsible for the supervision reports of Azerbaijan, a member of the Council of Europe since 2001. Finally, he obtained the position. The result was that "the tone and attitude towards the Azerbaijani authorities softened", from the constant criticism leveled in 2005 to the much friendlier attitude of 2010.
Gerald Knaus, president of the European Stability Initiative, welcomes the conclusions, although he suggests that they only reveal part of the corruption. "Only the tip of the iceberg is shown. But given the limitations, it is important and full of details, "says Knaus, who has revealed many of these irregularities.
In his reports on the country, Agramunt avoided condemning one of the most aired aspects of the institution in Strasbourg with respect to the Azeri authorities: the imprisonment of political dissidents. And although he visited them during his stays in Baku, "I never had anything to say to them, something that only happened in Azerbaijan." As an example of good relations with power, the report cites the presence of Agramunt in Baku two days before the official delegation of the parliamentary assembly arrived.Dating with prostitutes
The document refers to testimonies from the secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly that say Agramunt "could be bribed with prostitutes" while participating in an electoral mission of the Council of Europe sent to Azerbaijan in 2015. One of those witnesses claims to have seen him one day return to your hotel with three young women. There are two other reported cases, with two women and one respectively. The authors of the work believe that the allegations are "not corroborated" and that, even if they met with prostitutes, "there is no evidence that it was part of a corrupt scheme."
A testimony from the same secretariat ensures that on one occasion he saw Agramunt with "a significant amount of cash" in his possession, an indication of having accepted bribes. The text also includes irregularities of the deputy of the PdeCAT Jordi Xuclà and of the exdiputado of the PP Agustín Conde.
With all these details, the research concludes that there is "a strong suspicion that Pedro Agramunt was part of an activity of a corrupt nature." Experts clarify that the Spanish politician has refused to offer his testimony before the investigation committee. The Council of Europe will now decide possible sanctions against the deputies who still make up the assembly.
Posted 27 April 2018 - 11:17 AM
Australian MP Peter Khalil slams Craig Kelly on Sky News: You had your trip paid by the Azerbaijani government
CANBERRA: Members of the Federal Parliament, Peter Khalil and Craig Kelly have clashed live on Sky News Australia, with the Member for Wills slamming the Member for Hughes for "talking down Australia's democracy in comparison to Azerbaijan's" after he labelled the recent presidential elections in the petro-dictatorship as "democratic" following a state-sponsored trip.
The elections Kelly observed, leading a delegation of Federal MPs in his role as Chair of the Australia - Azerbaijan Friendship Group, saw dictator Ilham Aliyev re-elected for a record 7-year term in office after recent changed to the Constitution supporting an extension to his rule. Incidentally, Kelly also observed the referendum changing these laws, before returning to Australia to say "we have a lot to learn from Azerbaijan's democracy".
Khalil laid into Kelly live on Sky News after highlighting that Azerbaijan's electoral commission released the result of the previous presidential elections in that country "a day before the actual election".
"You've got a despot who specialises in nepotism who hired his wife as Vice-President, and you're telling us that we've got something to learn from them," Khalil said. "That's just utterly ridiculous."
He continued: "You had your trip paid by the Azerbaijani government, I get it. But do not talk down Australia's democracy. We have an independent Australian Electoral Commission, we have one of the most thorough and rigid processes in one of the best, democratic systems in the world."
Kelly did concede, as he had in a Sydney Morning Herald article exposing his comments, that Azerbaijan has "had the same family ruling there as President - father and son - since the Soviet occupation ended", but he still referred to the country as "a fledgling democracy".
Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) Executive Director, Haig Kayserian commented: "We thank Mr. Khalil for once again bringing Mr. Kelly's questionable loyalty to a regime that gives any dictatorship a run for its money when it comes to press and individual freedoms, has been declared as 'not free' by Freedom House, and regularly breaks an internationally-brokered ceasefire to fire across the Line of Contact, murdering Armenians on the border of the Republic of Artsakh."
In response to Kelly's consistent assertions that voter identification laws in Azerbaijan supercede the transparecy of Australia's electoral commission, Kayserian said: "Even in cases of voter fraud, Australia's due processes have revealed parties at fault and brought them to justice. In Azerbaijan, European observers have cited the lack of opposition and any comparable checks and balances."
Kayserian added: "We welcome Mr. Kelly has at least now admitted that Aliyev's Azerbaijan has had one surname leading it for as long as it has been independent, but to still refer to it as a democracy is as basketcase as the 'democracy' he is referring to."
ANC-AU, which has been at the forefront of bringing this saga to public attention, has requested to meet with Craig Kelly.
Posted 24 May 2018 - 10:00 AM
Posted 31 May 2018 - 10:25 AM
Posted 18 June 2018 - 12:04 PM
Azerbaijan’s Secret ‘Laundromat’ Scheme Pays $1.5 Million to US Lobbying Firm
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
The website of Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) revealed last week the possibly illegal lobbying in the United States funded by Azerbaijani sources.
Investigative journalist Jonny Wrate reported on May 23, 2018 that “some of the money that passed through the Azerbaijani Laundromat, a secret money laundering scheme and slush fund that saw $2.9 billion flow out of the country between 2012 and 2014, ended up in the hands of a purportedly private Azerbaijani organization that hired a Virginia firm to lobby the US government for more than a decade.”
OCCRP had reported earlier that “other monies from the fund were used to advance the Azerbaijani government’s political agenda, with some ending up in bank accounts belonging to European politicians who spoke highly of President Ilham Aliyev’s regime even as it arrested journalists and political activists. The precise origins of the funds are unknown, hidden behind secretive shell companies. But there is ample evidence that the authoritarian country’s ruling elite is behind them.”
Last week, OCCRP revealed that two shell companies established by Azerbaijan “funneled over a million and a half dollars to a mysterious Baku-based organization called Renaissance Associates” which in turn hired “a US lobbying firm to orchestrate praise for Azerbaijan and had its representatives make thousands of dollars in campaign donations, including to Senators and Representatives who sat on committees that determine foreign aid budgets.”
Posted 19 June 2018 - 11:51 AM
Another Anti-Armenian Writer Exposed
For Making Baseless Allegations
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
It seems that not a week passes without coming across another
mysterious writer who undertakes to contribute a puff piece about
Azerbaijan and to undermine the reputation of Armenia and Armenians
around the world.
The latest such writer is Peter Tase who posted an article titled,
“Russia’s Foreign Agents in America: Trump Connection of Armenian
Lobbyists,” on June 11, 2018 on the Eurasia Review website.
This extremely biased article resorts to exaggerations and untrue
allegations in order to link Armenia and various Armenian individuals
to Russia, and even more surprisingly, to Pres. Donald Trump.
To begin with, Tase disparages Iranian-Armenian Gevork Vartanian’s
praiseworthy actions during World War II by calling him “one of the
most prolific Soviet Armenian spies.” In fact, Vartanian provided a
major service to the entire world by thwarting Hitler’s plans to
assassinate Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt while meeting as allies
at the Tehran Conference in 1943. Tase undermines his own credibility
by mentioning that CIA director Stansfield Turner and upper echelons
of the agency trusted Vartanian. Why would they trust Vartanian if he
were such a bad guy? Incredibly, Tase even states that he is
suspicious of Vartanian because he spoke Armenian.
Tase then picks on two Russian Armenian journalists—Margarita Simonyan
and Gayane Chichakyan—who work for RT (Russia Today) TV. Their only
guilt is that they are “good looking” women, and without any evidence
Tase accuses them of being “ethnically Armenian, as are many other
‘Russian’ agents of influence.”
Next is the turn of Artur Chilingarov, Vice Speaker of the Russian
Duma, whom Tase attacks for being an Armenian. Chilingarov’s fault is
that he was sitting at the next table over from Russian President
Vladimir Putin at a banquet in Moscow. Chilingarov was honored by the
Soviet Union and the Russian Federation for his exploits as a
prominent polar explorer—and not for being an Armenian, as Tase
Perhaps the most sinister part of Tase’s article is falsely claiming
that Armenian-American reporter Emil Sanamyan is “a foreign agent.”
This is a completely untrue allegation. Mr. Sanamyan told me that he
is not now, nor has he ever been registered with the U.S. Justice
Department as “a foreign agent.” I hope Mr. Sanamyan will sue Peter
Tase and his website for damaging his reputation. To show the degree
of Tase’s blind hatred for anything Armenian, he accuses Sanamyan of
working for “Americans for Artsakh,” an organization “established to
bring legitimacy to the war crimes and illegal occupation by the
Russian-backed Armenian military that has been ruthlessly perpetrated
(long before Ukraine and Georgia, the Russian government has used
Armenian soldiers to occupy Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory, arrest
development and derail a Pro-Western course of Azerbaijan).” Not a
single word is true in that sentence. The Russian government did not
use Armenian soldiers. Armenians liberated themselves from
Azerbaijan’s oppressive regime which committed mass crimes against
Armenians of Artsakh for decades. In fact, Russian soldiers sided with
Azerbaijan and killed many innocent inhabitants of Artsakh.
Furthermore, “Americans for Artsakh” was a non-profit funded by
Armenian-Americans. Sanamyan told me that he worked there as an unpaid
employee. In addition, when Sanamyan worked at the Office of the
Nagorno Karabakh Republic in Washington, D.C., the organization was
not yet registered with the U.S. Justice Department as “a foreign
agent.” Also, Tase makes up a fake title by claiming that “Sanamyan
was in charge of information warfare and propaganda as Director of the
NKR Public Affairs Office.”
There are also several minor errors in Tase’s article which show his
lack of knowledge of Armenian issues. For example, Tase writes about
Armenia’s independence from “Soviet Russia,” instead of the Soviet
Union. The second nonsense is Tase’s comment on a photo of Pres. Serzh
Sargsyan with Pres. and Mrs. Trump at the United Nations in New York.
Tase attributes the photo to the lobbying effort of the
Armenian-American community. However, no lobbying was necessary. If
Tase did a little more research, he would have discovered another
photo of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev with Pres. and Mrs. Trump
at the UN, along with photos of many other heads of state. Another
intentional misrepresentation by Tase is that Sanamyan’s wife, a
graduate of Cass Business School, City University London, was one of
the “Major Donors and Sponsors” of the University in 2012. Tase fails
to mention that Sanamyan’s wife was listed under the smallest amount
category—less than $1,000—which does not make her a major donor.
Tase’s next attack on Armenians is their alleged connection to Pres.
Trump. This is where Tase makes his most ignorant accusation. The
reality is that there are hardly any Armenians who know Pres. Trump;
so Tase invents imaginary connections. Tase even dares to misrepresent
my 2016 article headlined, “Armenians Should Reach Out to Trump
Through Republican Friends in Congress.” If Tase was an honest
reporter, he would have quoted from my article which stated:
“Armenian-American ties with the President-elect are practically
Tase also misrepresents the statement posted by Aram Hamparian,
Executive Director of ANCA, offering to work with the newly-elected
President. There is no indication in that sentence of any link between
Armenian-Americans and Trump. Scraping the bottom of the barrel, Tase
comes up with a totally unknown name, Andy Surabian, as “another
Armenian political operative deep inside the Trump White House.”
Surabian is described as “Steve Bannon’s political advisor in the
Trump administration and a campaign veteran.” Unfortunately for Tase,
neither Bannon nor Surabian work at the White House anymore.
Tase then mentions the name of Keith Nahigian, as “perhaps the most
influential and high-ranking Armenian Diaspora member and registered
lobbyist associated with the Trump campaign…who was tapped to head
Trump’s transition team in 2017.” This is yet another red herring.
Nahigian has no connection with the Armenian community. I sent him an
email two years ago and I am still waiting for his answer. That’s how
close Nahigian is to the Armenian community.
Tase prematurely refers to congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian
(R-Nevada) as a member of “the Armenian lobby with access to President
Trump.” Should Tarkanian win his House seat in November, we shall be
able to determine how close is his connection to the White House.
Incredibly, Tase mentions Kim Kardashian as an Armenian
“home-porn-turned-Twitter lobbyist” who has met Trump on numerous
occasions—most recently in May 2018,” successfully securing a pardon
from Pres. Trump for a (non-Armenian) grandmother serving a
life-sentence in prison. Tase would have made a more convincing case
if Kardashian had made a request from Pres. Trump on an Armenian
issue. There has been no link between Kardashian as “an Armenian
lobbyist” and Pres. Trump.
Tase falsely concludes his baseless and shameful article by stating:
“These extensive and deep links to the incumbent inexperienced
president and his campaign create potential national security
implications and deserve scrutiny to ensure that Putin’s ongoing
meddling into the U. S. Homeland would crumble and miserably fail.”
I don’t think Pres. Trump needs Armenian-Americans to establish
communication with Pres. Putin. Contrary to Tase’s unfounded
allegations, Pres. Trump has had a direct link to the Kremlin for a
long time and does not need anyone else’s assistance.
Posted 23 June 2018 - 08:50 AM
The Azerbaijani military is reported to have purchased U.S.-made Bell-412 helicopters which will be showcased at the country’s military parade in Baku on 26 June.
It is unclear how the Bell-412 copters produced by American aircraft manufacturer Bell Helicopter reached Baku given the U.S. legislation banning the country to supply arms to a party to conflict, political scientist Suren Sargsyan said in a Facebook post.
He calls on the Armenian states structures and U.S.-based organizations to take urgent efforts towards identifying who is behind the copters sales to Azerbaijan.
“The Armenian Foreign and Defense Ministeries, as well as the U.S.-based organizations should immediately take action to figure out who has sold or resold the helicopters to Baku,” Sargsyan stressed.
The armed forces of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and a number of other countries operate Bell-412 helicopters, the expert added.
Posted 29 June 2018 - 08:23 AM
Chambers of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
STRASBOURG—The Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) examined corruption reports during its summer session and determined that 14 assembly members had violated ethical standards by engaging in corrupt activities with Azerbaijan. Specifically, members had accepted gifts and other monetary bribes from the Azeri government to lobby on its behalf and present Azerbaijan in a positive light.
In a report published April 15, the Committee on Rules of Procedure stated that, “The allegations made and the facts supporting them are examined under four principal headings: (1) the various activities in favour of Azerbaijan within PACE; (2) the exchange of gifts and different forms of benefits; (3) the influence of extra-institutional actors (lobbyists); and (4) money and other corruptive activities being used as a means of fostering Azerbaijan’s interests in PACE.”
Arpine Hovhannisyan, the deputy speaker of Armenian parliament and the head of the Armenian delegation to PACE, said the committee has sanctioned the parliamentarians who are mentioned in the reports — she explained that the group is comprised of both former and current PACE members. The sanctioned parliamentarians include Alain Destexhe, Luca Volontè, Agustín Conde, Karin Strenz, Elkhan Suleymanov, Göran Lindblad, Tadeusz Iwiński, among seven others.
“As I had explained earlier, the independent Investigative Body of PACE had presented its report on corruption processes in PACE at the spring sitting,” Hovhannisyan said. “The Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs Committee immediately touched upon the report. The committee continued working over the reports during the summer session.”
The committee ruled that the 14 PACE members who were found to have breached the organization’s Code of Conduct should be deprived of the right to access Council of Europe and Parliamentary Assembly premises for life.
This was the third Rules Committee hearing concerning the conduct of individual members and served as a follow-up to the Investigation Body’s report. Two previous hearings took place April 25 and May 15, and the committee will continue its hearings of current and former PACE members at its next meeting.
Posted 29 June 2018 - 10:57 AM
Ադրբեջանական լոբբիի «հերոսների» դիմաց ցմահ փակ է ԵԽԽՎ-ն. Նաիրա Կարապետյան
Վերջապես այս օրը եկավ, երբ մի շարք պատգամավորների (արդեն նախկին)՝ ադրբեջանական լոբբիի «հերոսների» դիմաց ցմահ փակ է Եվրոպայի խորհուրդը և ԵԽԽՎ-ն. ֆեյսբուքյան իր էջում գրում է ԱԺ նախկին պատգամավոր, ԵԽԽՎ հայաստանյան պատվիրակության անդամ Նաիրա Կարապետյանը։
Կարապետյանը տեղեկացնում է, որ ԵԽԽՎ զեկույցում նշվում է, որ պատգամավորներին կաշառելու գործընթացները կազմակերպել են ադրբեջանցի պատգամավորներ Մուսլիմ Մամեդովը և Էլխան Սուլեյմանովը: Նրանք նույնպես ցմահ զրկվել են ԵԽԽՎ մուտք գործելու իրավունքից։
«Ագուստին Կոնդե, Ալան Դեստեքս, Կարին Շտրենց, Գորան Լինդբլադ, Տադեուշ Իվինսկի և այլն. կարդում եմ անունները և ժպտում՝ սա մեր պատվիրակության (տարբեր տարիների) աշխատանքային այսպես կոչված «սև ցուցակի» պատվավոր անդամներն են, մարդիկ, ովքեր անթաքույց պաշտպանել են Ադրբեջանի ցանկացած հոդաբաշխ և անհոդաբաշխ զառանցանք։ Իլհամին թվում էր, թե սեփական երկրի կեղտը կհաստատվի նաև Եվրոպայի խորհրդում, բայց տեսաք, հարգարժաններ, ժողովուրդը չի սխալվում՝ ստի ոտքը կարճ է»։
Նախկին պատգամավորը հիշեցնում է. «Կար ժամանակ, երբ Հեյդարի որդու թեթև ձեռքով և նրա հավատարիմ վկաների ջանքերով, Լուկա Վոլոնտեի միայն անունը ելույթում հիշատկելու համար կարելի էր զրկվել ձայնի իրավունքից և հրապարակային պարսավանքի ենթարկվել, իսկ հիմա նա այլևս պերսոնա-նոն-գրատա է Եվրոպայի խորհրդում։Իհարկե, դեռ կան ծպտյալներ, բայց սա հրապարակային դաս է բոլորի համար»։
Շնորհավորելով ու շնորհակալություն հայտնելով այս կարևոր աշխատանքում իրենց՝ անգամ փոքր լուման ունեցողներին, Նաիրա Կարապետյանն արձանագրում է. «Ադրբեջանի անվերջ դիմակների հավաքածուի գլխավորներից ևս մեկը պատռվեց»:
Posted 08 February 2019 - 02:50 PM
Bundestag Disciplines Karin Strenz MP for Hiding Money From Baku
Director, Europe and Central Asia Division
Better late than never. The German parliament has finally disciplined an MP from chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democratic party (CDU) over the MP’s role in a US$2.9 billion influence buying corruption scandal between Azerbaijan and more than a dozen European politicians.
Karin Strenz, a German MP since 2009, had a reputation for defending Azerbaijan despite its terrible human rights record In 2017 it became clear why: She was among a number of members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)who were found to have received money and gifts from Azerbaijan authorities between 2012 to 2014. During this period, PACE voted down a key resolution on politically motivated imprisonment in Azerbaijan.
On January 18, the leadership of the Bundestag finally moved on the issue, ruling that Strenz had broken parliamentary rules on declaring external income.
Strenz accepted the ruling but made light of it: “When you commit a parking offence you get a parking ticket” she said.
She could face a fine of up to €60,000 (US$68,000) and several MPs, also from the Social Democrats, the CDU’s coalition allies, have called for her to be stripped of her parliamentary mandate.
“Whitewashing (the Baku) government, manipulating election monitoring, lying and getting rich at the same time is not the same as a parking offence,” Frank Schwabe, an SPD MP tweeted about Strenz.
The Bundestag may have been slow to act against Strenz, but it has been faster than any other national parliament. She is the first MP to face political consequences at home for taking money from Azerbaijan.
This is the most shocking aspect. PACE has banned 16 former members from the parliament’s headquarters in Strasbourg, but little else has happened, despite the clear evidence of the politicians’ actions, that undermined the Council of Europe’s standing as Europe’s leading human rights body.
Let’s hope politicians in Spain, Belgium, and other parliaments hit by the scandal will quickly follow the Bundestag’s lead. It’s about standing up for human rights in Azerbaijan, and in Europe as a whole.
Posted 10 February 2019 - 09:58 AM
Any country or politician that azerboobjan can't buy automatically becomes scammers and are engaged in fraud against them.
I could have posted this easily in the Comedistan thread!
Trend.azNew Azerbaijan Party member: Some Western organizations engaged in political trade8 February 2019 11:56 (UTC+04:00)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 8
By Elchin Mehdiyev – Trend:
Freedom House organization’s report is ridiculous and meaningless, member of the political council of the New Azerbaijan Party, editor-in-chief of Azerbaijan’s Iki Sahil newspaper Vugar Rahimzade told Trend on Feb. 8.
“Therefore, the reports of such organizations must not be taken seriously,” he said. “All documents prepared by such organizations are biased.”
“Some Western organizations are engaged in political trade,” Rahimzade said. “They are “professional” scammers and are engaged in fraud. Such non-governmental organizations, under the guise of protecting human rights and freedoms, pursue other goals, in particular, put pressure on different countries and dictate their conditions.”
“Freedom House’s report is regrettable,” he said. “To state that Azerbaijan and Turkey are lagging behind, but Armenia is developing, is absurd. Freedom House considers the countries proceeding from their political preferences.”
“Armenia is a criminal, terrorist country,” Rahimzade added. “The Armenians committed terrorist attacks not only in Azerbaijan, but also in Georgia, Turkey, the US and Europe. Everyone knows the assassinations and killings committed by ASALA terrorist organization. To mention such a country as a model for developed countries is a very ridiculous and meaningless approach.”
Posted 12 March 2019 - 08:44 AM
Rabbi Schneier Takes Evangelical Pastors
On Propaganda Tour of Azerbaijan
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
For several years, the government of Azerbaijan and its diplomats
overseas have gone to great lengths to win over Jews worldwide,
American Jewish organizations, and Israel.
Azerbaijan is simply copying Turkey’s sinister behavior that until
recently wooed Jewish organizations in the United States and Israel’s
government to block the passage of a congressional resolution
recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Many Jewish groups ended their
immoral cooperation with Turkey, after Turkish President Rejep Tayyip
Erdogan began making anti-Semitic statements and threatening Israel.
Just like Turkey, Azerbaijan’s outreach to Jewish organizations and
Israel is based on the typical anti-Semitic belief that Jews control
American politicians and it is therefore in Azerbaijan’s interest to
be on the good side of ‘powerful’ Jews. According to the Israeli
newspaper Haaretz, “many countries nurture their relationship to
Israel in hopes of finding favor with influential American Jewish
organizations who will in turn speak well of them to the U.S.
Furthermore, Azerbaijan’s pro-Jewish efforts are based on the fact
that it purchases billions of dollars of modern weapons from Israel.
In return, Azerbaijan sells a large amount of oil to Israel. There
have been also intelligence reports that Azerbaijan has provided
Israel with several bases on its border with Iran, should Israel
decide to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The latest example of the collaboration between American Jewish
leaders and Azerbaijan is the visit to Baku on March 3-8 by a group of
U.S. evangelical pastors led by New York-based Orthodox Rabbi Marc
Schneier “to promote interfaith dialogue and highlight cooperation
with Israel,” according to the Associated Press. This was the first
ever evangelical delegation to visit the Muslim Shiite nation. The
Rabbi described Azerbaijan as “the most beloved and respected Muslim
country in the eyes of the Jewish American community,” reported Trend,
an Azeri news agency. Schneier spoke at an event in the U.S. Congress
last year celebrating the close friendship between Azerbaijan and
The group of 12 U.S. evangelical pastors met Pres. Ilham Aliyev of
Azerbaijan, the foreign minister, Muslim Sheikhs, local church
leaders, and Israel’s ambassador. Rabbi Schneier told the Associated
Press that Pres. Aliyev “announced during the delegation’s visit that
the country’s first-ever Jewish cultural center would be built in Baku
with Kosher dining options and a hotel to accommodate Jewish guests.”
Schneier heads the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding based in New
York and founded the Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, New York.
As a sign of their cozy relationship, Azerbaijan’s national airline
flies directly to Tel Aviv and Pres. Aliyev hosted Israel’s prime
minister in 2016. Not surprisingly, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister
Elmar Mammadyarov took advantage of his meeting with the evangelical
leaders to disparage Armenia and distort the facts of the Artsakh
conflict. He said, “the recent statements of the Armenian leadership
highlighted that such statements undermine the peace process.”
Pastor Adam Mesa, who leads the Abundant Living Family Church in
Rancho Cucamonga, California, told the Associated Press that it was
his first time in a Muslim majority country. The pastor said he was
encouraged to take part in the trip because of Azerbaijan’s supportive
Israeli stance and interreligious efforts. “It’s incredible that a
Muslim majority country is the one that has to actually lead the
charge on religious dialogue and community and solidarity.”
Rabbi Schneier confirmed to the Associated Press the political agenda
behind the religious group’s visit: “from a political point of view,
listen there is no question you know that Azerbaijan is looking to
strengthen its relationship with the U.S. administration, with the
United States Congress. Israel is very much a conduit to that.”
As in the case of Cong. Alcee Hastings, Azerbaijan seems to have
picked another disgraced individual to disseminate its propaganda. The
60-year-old Rabbi Schneier has been married six times, the last on
March 2017. In February 2018, the State of Florida ordered Schneier to
pay $5,000 a month for $64,594 in unpaid child support he owed to his
third wife for the care of their 19-year-old son. Rabbi Schneier was
expelled in June 2015 by the Rabbinical Council of America for
breaching the code of ethics by carrying on an extramarital
relationship. In June 2010, the Rabbi announced to his congregation
that he was suffering from “bipolar disorder.”
According to Wikipedia, “under pressure from his congregation for his
multiple divorces and philandering, Schneier resigned in 2016 from his
pulpit position at the Hampton Synagogue, which he had founded in
1990. Congregants had threatened to withhold pledges and payments
until he left the synagogue.”
The New York Post reported that after cheating on his third wife,
Rabbi Schneier in 2006 married Tobi Rubinstein, “a sexy worshipper,”
who became wife No. 4. “In 2010, Tobi hired a private investigator who
turned up explicit photos of her husband and Gitty Leiner, a
then-30-something worshipper, getting hot and heavy in the Holy Land
on what Schneier had told his wife was a routine business trip.
Marriage No. 4 ended in divorce soon after.” The Rabbi ended up
marrying Gitty Leiner in 2013—wife No. 5. The couple had a child in
2014, “but then in 2015, Schneir was caught dining out in Queens with
sexy young Simi Teitelbaum” who became his sixth wife in 2017.
Interestingly, The Post reported that “Schneier explained away his
unholy extramarital hookups by saying he was mentally ill and seeking
Rabbi’s ex-wife Toby Gotesman told the Post: “When I left him, he was
making $800,000 … that included a $500,000 salary, plus hundreds of
thousands in additional compensation, including mortgage payments on
his 5,000-square-foot Westhampton Beach home, said to be valued at
around $3 million.”
Rabbi Schneier’s visit to Azerbaijan last week was not his first. He
has been there several times in recent years on propaganda tours. One
wonders if the Rabbi has received any compensation from Pres. Aliyev
for his ‘valuable’ services. His multiple trips to Azerbaijan makes
the Rabbi look more like a lobbyist for Azerbaijan than a religious
I would urge Armenian evangelical church leaders to contact the 12
pastors who visited Baku last week in order to counter the propaganda
they were fed against Armenia and Artsakh. I would also like to know
if these pastors and Rabbi Schneier came back from Baku with suitcases
full of the usual Azeri “gifts” of caviar, rugs, and other valuable
Posted 20 March 2019 - 06:53 AM
Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Dashgin Shikarov has reportedly appropriated 10 jars of caviar intended as a gift from the Azerbaijani government to Ruler of Abu Dhabi Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In addition, a special commission has been set up at the Azerbaijani Embassy in Abu Dhabi to probe the disappearance of half a million dollars, suspected to have been seized, Azerbaijan media reported.
Shikarov is a highly experienced diplomat. Previously, he headed the diplomatic missions of Azerbaijan in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He began serving as Azerbaijani ambassador to the UAE in January 2016.
After this discovery, the Azerbaijani president is said to have recalled the ambassador.
The case once again comes to prove that Azerbaijan proceeds with its ‘caviar diplomacy.’
Posted 01 July 2019 - 09:15 AM
Posted 30 October 2019 - 08:00 AM
Australian Senator Eric Abetz
CANBERRA, Australia—Under parliamentary questioning by Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eric Abetz, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has promised to investigate Azerbaijani bribe money that has reportedly landed in Australia.
During the Senate Estimates questioning, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade also admitted that Artsakh – which Australia does not yet formally recognize as an independent state – is a “party” to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia.
Mr. Abetz, who is a former cabinet minister and part of the Australian Friends of Artsakh network, questioned First Assistant Secretary of the Europe and Latin Affairs Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ms. Catherine Raper on these issues of importance to Armenian-Australians.
Mr. Abetz drew Ms. Raper’s attention to reporting by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project that indicated over $200,000 of Azerbaijani Laundromat was linked to Australian companies.
The Azerbaijani Laundromat refers to an international money laundering and bribery scheme that saw $2.9 billion funneled into the pockets of European politicians, journalists and organization officials in exchange for silence on Baku’s human rights abuses between 2012 and 2014.
Despite indicating during the last Senate Estimates period that her Department would investigate the report’s findings, Ms. Raper told Mr. Abetz that they were “not aware” of the report or the suggestion that money had found its way into Australia.
Mr. Abetz went on to address the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and specifically Australia’s position on the conflict’s resolution.
During a previous Senate Estimates, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade stated that it encourages “all parties to work constructively and in good faith with the OSCE Minsk Group to seek a negotiated resolution [to the conflict].”
Mr. Abetz, in response to this, questioned DFAT on whether it considered Artsakh to be a party to the conflict “when we say that all parties should be gathering around to resolve the conflict” – to which the Department affirmed that it does recognize Artsakh as a party to the conflict despite not recognizing the Republic of Artsakh as an independent state.
“Recognizing Artsakh as a party to the conflict is an important step towards eventual recognition of Artsakh’s right to self-determination,” said Haig Kayserian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of Australia.
“What this establishes is that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade accepts that there should be, to paraphrase Senator Abetz, a ‘seat at the table’ for the representatives of Artsakh to negotiate their future status within the current OSCE format,” he continued.
The Republic of Artsakh has been routinely excluded from the OSCE Minsk Group process due to the intransigence of Azerbaijan, despite Artsakh being one of the original signatories to the 1994 ceasefire agreement which ended the war.
“Azerbaijan’s position has been to try to cajole Armenia into unilaterally conceding Artsakh’s territories in exchange for a future determination of status,” Kayserian added.
“Armenian-Australians believe that no pathway to peace can include handing Artsakh to a dictatorship that has routinely and systematically violated the rights of the Armenian people.”
“By including Artsakh in the negotiation process and giving it the right to determine its own future, which is also what the Armenian government is calling for, is a step in the right direction for ensuring the right to self-determination is respected.”
Kayserian thanked Mr. Abetz for his line of questioning, and the responses by Ms. Raper.
“Mr. Abetz was able to ensure the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade brought important information to light, including a promise to investigate if Azerbaijani bribe money eventually found its way to Australia,” he said.
“We are also pleased that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade accepts Artsakh is a party to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
Posted 01 February 2020 - 08:51 AM
ArmInfo. The Bundestag of Germany on January 30 deprived parliamentary immunity of the deputy from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Karin Strenz from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. She is accused of taking a bribe of at least 22 thousand euros to lobby for the interests of Azerbaijan in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
According to Deutsche Welle, last year the German parliament fined Strents 20 thousand euros. In connection with the investigation into Strentz, about 100 employees of the prosecutor's office, the Federal Criminal Office and the Belgian police searched the premises on 16 eve of the night: in the Bundestag's office of the deputy, her personal apartment in Berlin, as well as in the premises, offices and law firms in Berlin, the federal states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Bavaria, as well as in Belgium. Together with her in the case is the ex-deputy of the Bundestag from the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), the former parliamentary state secretary to the Minister of the Interior, Eduard Lintner.
The Bundestag deprived the immunity of the leader of the right-wing populist faction Lintner, according to the prosecutor's office, from 2008 to 2016 he received from Azerbaijan about 4 million euros through shell companies in the UK, which had accounts in banks in the Baltic countries. He redirected a significant part of this money, minus his remuneration, to individual PACE members who were supposed to speak positively about the elections in Azerbaijan and oppose the demands for the release of political prisoners in this country.
In this case, there is also a third suspect, on the bribery and lobbying of the interests of Azerbaijan, whose name the investigation has not yet disclosed. He is accused of creating a shell company and opening bank accounts through his law office to transfer money from Azerbaijan to bribe PACE members. On Thursday, January 30, the Bundestag deprived parliamentary immunity of the leader of the faction of the right-wing populist party "Alternative for Germany" (AdG) Alexander Gauland. The decision was made at the request of the Frankfurt am Main Prosecutor's Office, seeking permission to search Gauland for suspicion of tax evasion. Frankfurt prosecutors ordered searches of the apartments in Gauland at his place of residence in Frankfurt am Main and Potsdam. The policy is blamed for the incorrect preparation of tax returns on their income for several years.
Recall that suspicions against Karin Strents appeared in 2017 during a corruption scandal in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). In particular, her name is mentioned in a report published in April 2018 by a group of independent experts on bribes for lobbying for the interests of Baku in Europe. The document claims that a key person involved in the corruption scandal, former Bundestag deputy Eduard Lintner hired her to work through his Line M-Trade consulting company, which was funded by Baku and lobbying for the interests of Azerbaijan. Strents later stated that she did not know the source of the company's financing. In connection with suspicions, in early 2018 she was expelled from the Bundestag delegation to PACE.
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