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Wed Sep 13, 2017, 06:42 PM

European parliament calls for investigation into 'Azerbaijani Laundromat'

Source: The Guardian

European parliament calls for investigation into 'Azerbaijani Laundromat'

MEPs say Baku tried to ‘influence European decision-makers through illicit means’, as Council of Europe calls for legal action over defiance over ECHR

Jennifer Rankin in Brussels
Wednesday 13 September 2017 18.53 BST

The European parliament has called for an investigation into revelations by the Guardian and media partners that Azerbaijan ran a secret $2.9bn (£2.2bn) slush fund to pay influential Europeans to paint a positive image of the authoritarian regime.

MEPs have demanded a “comprehensive” investigation into “attempts by Azerbaijan and other autocratic regimes ... to influence European decision-makers through illicit means”, following a last-minute amendment to a report on corruption.

In a separate move, the head of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, called for unprecedented legal action against Azerbaijan over its refusal to release a political prisoner in defiance of the European court on human rights.

The Council of Europe and ECHR are not part of the EU, but the coincidence in timing shows how political repression and corruption in Azerbaijan is rising up the agenda of Europe’s institutions.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/13/european-parliament-calls-for-investigation-into-azerbaijani-laundromat

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