The Council of Europe yesterday released its inquiry’s findings (pdf) into allegations of corruption by its members, primarily related to Azerbaijan. It found that several members of the Council’s parliamentary assembly broke the body’s rules on ethics and are “strongly suspected” of corruption. Other allegations surfaced during the investigation concerning individuals in connection with eight other states, but the inquiry has not investigated these fully.
Simon Clydesdale, Oil Campaign Leader at Global Witness said, “The cash-for-votes racket involving Council of Europe parliamentarians is yet another in a lurid litany of corruption scandals linked to Azerbaijan. SOCAR, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, is implicated once again in corrupt Azeri activities, the paragon of which is the recent Azerbaijani Laundromat scheme, cited in the Council’s own report.”
“Azerbaijan has a growing and ignoble track record in this area and must be called to account, alongside the individuals involved. It was suspended from the international anti-corruption transparency programme, the EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) as a result of its crackdown on civic freedoms. A nation that attempts to a buy a clean bill of political health should have no place at the Council of Europe. Allegations also surround a number of other Council nations. If this institution is to retain any shred of credibility it must put its own house in order by at the very least suspending, and ultimately considering expelling, those states and individuals who undermine its very purpose.”
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