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#1 Yervant1


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Posted 07 March 2016 - 11:18 AM


Law 14:47 07/03/2016 Region

Five years after a bribery scandal broke out in the European
Parliament, former MEP Adrian Severin, who was also lobbying
Azerbaijan's interests in the EP, was sentenced to 3,3 years in prison
in Romania for attempting to make changes in the European Union
legislation in exchange for up to 100 thousand euros, according to
The Sunday Times.

The story, known as the "cash-for-laws scandal," goes back to 2011,
when a group of journalists from The Sunday Times posed as lobbyists
and offered money to 60 MEPs for adopting amendments watering down
rules protecting bank customers across Europe. Adrian Severin, former
Foreign Minister of Romania; Zoran Thaler, former Foreign Minister
of Slovenia; and Ernst Strasser, Foreign Minister of Austria, agreed
to the deal, according to the EurActiv.

Back then, the European Parliament said in a press release that on
21 March 2011, "the Romanian National Anti-Corruption Department
instituted proceedings against Mr Severin on the basis that between
December 2010 and March 2011 he allegedly accepted an offer of
payment of â~B¬100,000 from representatives of a fake lobbying company
'Taylor Jones Public Affairs' (created by the 'Sunday Times')" to adopt
amendments favourable for them and vote against those going against the
interests of the company they represented. FOCUS information agency
reports that a video filmed on the journalists' hidden camera shows
him agreeing to receive 4000 euros a day for his work. This prompted
the European Parliament to waive Severin's parliamentary immunity.

After being offered the deal, Severin, the vice-president of the
Socialist Group (the second biggest in the EP), asked an unsuspecting
colleague to table the amendment offered by the disguised lobbyists.

The EurActiv cites an email sent from Severin to the reporters "just
to let you know that the amendment desired by you has been tabled
in due time," before sending them a 12 thousand euro invoice for
"consulting services." Later Severin said he had done nothing illegal.

As a result, a political scandal broke out. The European Anti-Fraud
Office (OLAF) and the European Parliament initiated an investigation
into the case to punish the above-mentioned MEPs. However, the problem
was that both the rules of the OLAF and the Codes of Conduct and
Ethics of the European Parliament referred to misuse of public money
rather than a private lobbying company. Therefore, the issue was to
be solved in the frameworks of the legislation of the countries the
MEPs under question were representing. Meanwhile, the media reported
about Severin's exclusion from the Socialist Group in 2011. However,
he refused to leave his seat in the European Parliament and remained
there until the completion of his term in 2014.

According to the Lawyer Herald, a law news portal, Adrian Severin's
sentence was possible because, under the Romanian Penal Code, giving
bribe implies the promise, offering or giving money or other benefits.

In their time, there were different media reports about the above MEPs
being lobbyists of the interests of various forces. In particular,
the Russian service of Radio France Internationale called Adrian
Severin "an open defender of Azerbaijan."

Severin's pro-Azerbaijan position was expressed both in his support
of the country during votes and in his written questions, which are
available on the EP website. Back in 2008, in response to a speech
by Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European Commissioner for Trade and
European Neighbourhood Policy, where she addressed the Georgian crisis
and noted the EU's commitment to offering support to Georgia, Ukraine
and Moldova as regards their territorial integrity and sovereignty,
Severin expressed his protest over "the omission of Azerbaijan from
the speech by Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner." Further, he asked the
Commission to say whether it was "ready to prepare a plan to advance
its relations and to step up its cooperation with Azerbaijan."

In 2013, the Romanian MEP asked another written question to the
Commission for the European Neighbourhood Policy. In the question,
he noted that "Azerbaijan has an important regional role in the energy
security, geoeconomic, geostrategic and cultural fields." He also made
an inquiry about the EU's "alternatives" to define "the basis of a
strategic partnership with Azerbaijan, including a declaration of the
EU's unequivocal support for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, during
the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius." He asked the Commission
whether the EU was committed to signing a visa facilitation agreement
with Azerbaijan.

Severin was the last protagonist of the scandal to be sent to prison.

Ernst Strasser was sentenced to four years in 2013, and Zoran Thaler
received a two-and-a-half-year prison term in 2014. Before that,
unlike the Romanian politician, they resigned as the scandal broke.



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#2 onjig



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Posted 07 March 2016 - 07:53 PM

Very good! Many happy returns! 


The renegades and bandits should be put in pond.

Edited by onjig, 07 March 2016 - 07:55 PM.

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