OCCRP Accuses, Authorities Refute

Baku / 05.09.17 / Turan: The authorities of Azerbaijan from 2012 to 2014, through fictitious companies in the UK, "laundered" almost 3 billion dollars, according to a study by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). It is alleged that later this money was spent on "luxury goods" and on bribes to European politicians who lobbied Azerbaijan's interests in the European Union and blocked resolutions condemning human rights violations in the country.

In particular, according to investigators, the Azerbaijani authorities allegedly bribed the German politician Eduard Lintner (former head of the PACE Monitoring Committee), the Bulgarian politician Irina Bokova (former Director-General of UNESCO) and the Italian politician Luca Volonte (former Vice President of PACE). In 2013, Lintner headed the Commission of Observers from Germany in the presidential elections in Azerbaijan, Bokova held the photo exhibition Azerbaijan - the Space of Tolerance in the same year, and Volonte, in turn, received money to prevent the adoption of the PACE resolution on political prisoners in Azerbaijan, Radio Liberty reports.

The OCCRP claims that most of the funds that the Azerbaijani authorities withdrew into the accounts of fictitious British companies belonged to Azerbaijani banks, including the state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan. In addition, the Russian state company Rosoboronexport transferred $ 29 million to a "front man from Azerbaijan" in 2012. Two million dollars, presumably, was used as bribes, and the rest of the amount was allegedly got by structures connected with high-ranking officials of Azerbaijan, including President Ilham Aliyev.

In turn, the Azerbaijani authorities strongly rejected the charges against the leadership of the country.

"Neither Azerbaijan's President, nor his family members have anything to do with the accusations voiced in the article prepared Sept. 4 by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and published on the BBC News website Sept. 5 under the headline "Azerbaijan operated secret $ 3 bn secret slush fund' and the related articles in The Guardian, said a statement of Azerbaijan.

"Attempts to involve the Azerbaijani President and his family members in this issue are completely groundless, biased and provocative," said the statement.

"We know that George Soros and his henchmen, who have earned the image of scammers, falsifiers and deceivers on international arena, and who act against Azerbaijan and its leadership, stand behind this," reads the statement.

"Today, the nefarious acts of George Soros must be seriously investigated," the statement said. "Armenian lobby, which acts together with him, is leading a dirty campaign against the President of Azerbaijan and his family members. However, these attempts have not yielded any result. The fact that Dina Nagapetyan, an Armenian by origin, is one of the authors of the article published in The Guardian, further demonstrates that these filthy accusations are regular disgusting actions of Armenians around the world." -06d-

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