PACE Investigates Corruption of Its Members

Strasbourg / 25.04.17 / Turan: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) today will appoint three independent experts to investigate allegations of corruption of some members of this institution, accused of receiving large sums of money from the Azerbaijani authorities.

This decision must be approved at the plenary session of the assembly on April 25, reports AFP referring to the PACE press service.

The scandal known as Caviargate arose in connection with media reports that in January 2013 some former or active PACE members were "bought" by the Azerbaijani government to vote against the report on political prisoners in Azerbaijan.

As a result, the report was defeated, and some parliamentarians received privileges and incomes for this, the origin of which is not clear. It's about money, expensive carpets, free trips to Baku with accommodation in luxury hotels, etc.

In January, more than 60 PACE deputies demanded an independent investigation into this issue. NGO Transparency International also publicly appealed to the Council of Europe to investigate these allegations.

In Italy PACE Vice President Luca Volonte will appear before the court in the near future, as he allegedly received 2.9 million euros from a representative of the Azerbaijani authorities.

The PACE investigation mission may also be required to focus on the role of the current PACE President, the Spaniard Pedro Agramunt, who may be forced to resign for a visit to Syria and a meeting with Bashar Assad in Damascus.

According to the German NGO European Stability Initiative, Agramunt consistently defended the regime of Baku during the elections in Azerbaijan.

It is Agramunt that has long been hampering the investigations related to the Caviargate scandal.

“I was shocked when it became known,” former PACE President Anne Brasser commented on the behavior of her successor. -06D-

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