Azerbaijan pays ‘extra fee’to Podesta Group following Aliyev’s Washington trip

When IlhamAliyev, Azerbaijan’s president, visited Washington later last month, it was an opportunity for Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as others in the US foreign policy establishment, to publicly voice their concerns overcrackdown against journalists, especially the attacks on US-funded media group, RFE/RL in Baku. They chose not to do so. Well, at least publicly.

Aliyevgovernment, in its turn, seems intent on ensuring American support in its conflict with the independent voices through investing in lobbying activity;something that they have found reasonable to believe is paying off.

The meeting with Kerry, which reportedly had been requested by the Azeris, had taken “considerable lobbying to engineer,” TURAN’s Washington correspondent was informed by two different sources knowledgeable about the topic.

Yet itremains unclear how the Azeri officials with their poor human rights international recordscould convince top diplomats of the free worldto remain silent about the brutal anti-US campaign that they launched at home.

Although Aliyev’s Washington trip was related to his participation in the Nuclear Security Summit, it came in the wake of a deal signed between Azerbaijani Embassy and a leading US consultancy Podesta Groupearly this year.

As TURAN reported earlier, Podesta, which guarantees Azerbaijani government’s access to some of the most powerful people in Washington, have been receiving approximately $50,000 per month from the Azerbaijani Embassy, for its service.

Following Aliyev’s Washington trip, the Azeri Embassy rushed to sign anothercontract with the Podesta Group offering extra $70,000 for “additional services,” Justice Departmentrecords show.

“The Provider shall perform the Additional Services during the period commencing on April 6, 2016 and continuing through July 5,2016,” reads the amendment.

Podesta officials had no immediate comment when contacted about this report.

The CEO of the Podesta Group is Tony Podesta, who is currently a bundler for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, and John Podesta,the former counselor to President Barack Obama is the chairman of Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

A.Raufoglu

Washington, DC

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