ArmInfo.The PACE confirmed the corruption component in the actions of Azerbaijan, which could influence the decisions taken concerning the country in the Parliamentary Assembly.
"A group of investigators established that there was a group of people working for the PACE in the interest of Azerbaijan, it was found that several members and former members of the PACE acted contrary to the ethnic standards of the PACE," said former judge and president of the European Court of Human Rights Nicholas Bratza in Strasbourg , who led a team of investigators created to clarify the circumstances and the perpetrators.
Meanwhile, PACE President Michele Nicoletti expressed his conviction that the report is primarily important because it has recommendations for improving and prevention of such cases in the future. "We decided to publish this report, we will also inform the speakers of the national parliaments of the 47 member countries of the Council of Europe about the results of the investigation, so that they made appropriate decisions with respect to these persons," the PACE president said. In this context, he added that those who mentioned in the report, can be sanctioned. In particular, the report mentions the valuable gifts that were given to PACE members during their visits to Azerbaijan. According to the investigation, some of these gifts were declared according to the rules of the PACE.
Recall that in January last year, the Assembly created an independent body to investigate allegations of "corruption and promotion of interests" brought against some current and former members of the PACE. The day before, a report was published, which includes 198 pages.
I recalled that the second year the case is about a corruption scandal around the PACE. According to the journalistic investigation, the authorities of Azerbaijan used fictitious companies in the UK for laundering 2.9 billion dollars. This money was used to bribe European politicians who lobbied Azerbaijan's interests in the EU and blocked resolutions condemning human rights violations in the country. In the summer of 2016, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that the Milan prosecutor's office accused the well- known Italian politician Luca Volonta, the former head of the European People's Party faction in PACE, of receiving major bribes from the representatives of Azerbaijan. And in April this year, The Guardian revealed details of the corruption scandal in PACE with the participation of Baku. Then The Guardian reported that two people with high level experience of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) told The Guardian that they believe that Azerbaijan offered its members bribes for votes.
This body consists of 324 delegates from national parliaments and meets four times a year in Strasbourg. <Arif Mammadov, a former Azerbaijani diplomat who became a dissident, said that members of the delegation from this oil-rich country in the Council of Europe had 30 million euros to lobby in the institutions of this organization, including the [Parliamentary] Assembly of the Council of Europe. He added that "everyone" in the Azerbaijani delegation heard this number, although "it was never recorded, it was said that this money was for bribes to members of delegations and PACE as a whole," Mammadov said.