Angela Merkel's CDU party received donations from Azerbaijan
A district chapter of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Party (CDU) received €28,000 ($33,114) from the state-run Azerbaijani oil and gas company Socar in contravention of German rules on party donations, a consortium of public broadcasters NDR, WDR and daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.
The case again calls into question connections between certain conservative politicians and the South Caucasian republic, whose leader, President Ilham Aliyev, has been criticized by human rights organizations.
According to the report, two payments, one of €3,000 and one of €25,000, were deposited by Socar's Germany-based branch on the account of the CDU's district association in Frankfurt at the end of February 2012.Although the district CDU branch accepted the donation without question, auditors at party headquarters in Berlin notified the Administration of the German Bundestag, which decided as early as autumn 2013 that the gift was not allowable under the law. The CDU then gave up the donation to be immediately impounded, the report said.
However, despite having broken the law, the party will not have to pay a fine, largely owing to a ruling made by an administrative court in April that self-denunciation in such cases can not only mitigate penalties, but even avert them altogether.
The German CEO of Socar, Anders Egen Mamedov, was quoted by the paper as saying that the company's contacts with political officials was taking place "against the backbround of the geopolitical importance of Azerbaijan and Socar," including with regard to the pipeline network through seven countries that is currently under construction.
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