PACE Adopts Resolution on Corruption and Money Laundering in Azerbaijan and Other European Countries
On April 11, at the PACE Spring Session in Strasbourg, a resolution entitled "Laundromats: responding to new challenges in the international fight against organised crime, corruption and money laundering" (2279) was adopted.
The document was presented by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights; the report was authored by Dutch MP Mart van de VEN.
In the Summary of the report, it was noted that the Council of Europe was concerned about the facts set forth in the previous report "Azerbaijan Laundromat", which dealt with the laundering of large sums of money, bribing European figures and deputies from representatives of Azerbaijan. This was done in order to lobby the interests of the Azerbaijani authorities in the Council of Europe. Similar facts were revealed in Moldova, in particular in the judicial system.
PACE is deeply concerned about the fact of the export from Azerbaijan of 2.9 billion dollars for these purposes.
Responsibility for this lies with businessmen, organized crime groups and the government, the report says.
The criminal money laundering system was revealed in the Latvian banking sector, where the perpetrators actually escaped punishment.
Most of the money from Azerbaijan came through the Estonian branch of Danske Bank. The main recipient of the money was the Italian deputy Luka Volonte, as well as the Belgian
Alain Destexhe, the German Karl Strenz and Eduard Lintner, and Zmago Jelinčič Plemeniti of Slovenia.
Contrary to PACE resolution 2185 (2017), which called for the Azerbaijani authorities to launch an impartial investigation of these allegations without delay, nothing was done, and two Azerbaijani parliamentarians who were actively involved - Elkhan Suleymanov and Muslim Mamedov - were not punished in any way, the report says.
Further, the document lists the reasons for this situation, expressed in the impunity of corrupt officials, inadequate legal measures to combat money laundering, lack of transparency in the issue of property in business and companies, formal actions of the investigative bodies, the refusal of prosecution for money laundering, etc.
Another cause of corruption in Azerbaijan is the suppression of the activities of independent civil society and the media, which provide an important democratic test of corruption and other criminal activities.