MEP Frank Engel Urges Thorough Investigation of ‘Azerbaijani Laundromat’

MEP Frank Engel (Photo: Armenpress)
MEP Frank Engel (Photo: Armenpress)

MEP Frank Engel (Photo: Armenpress)

YEREVAN (Armenpress) – The recent revelations over Azerbaijan’s corruption scheme, which are being referred to as the “Azerbaijani Laundromat,” prove that there can be no normal relations or EU Agreements with Azerbaijan, according to Member of European Parliament from Luxembourg Frank Engel.

Engel discussed how last week, an amendment was tabled to a report adopted on governance in Eastern Partnership Countries. He added that the amendment condemned Azerbaijani state policy of corrupting officials in Europe in the strongest possible terms. This amendment was adopted by the plenary.

“The text of the amendment also calls for an inquiry into the possible ramifications of Azerbaijani payments or other corruption practices within the institutions of the European Union,” said Engel. “Interestingly, there were quite a few colleagues who voted against the amendment – I cannot imagine that they did so without pressure from Azerbaijan.”

Engel stated that all these revelations just show how great influence Azerbaijan has on the EU Member States. He provided this as the main reason as to why the entire network of the corrupted supporters of Azerbaijan inside EU institutions and member states should be investigated in detail.

“I remember the revelations by a Bulgarian journalist concerning diplomatic AZ flight used for all sorts of illegal and reprehensible practices. This journalist lost her job. This indicates how strong Azerbaijan’s influence among EU member states is, and constitutes all the more reason to inquire into their network of paid and corrupted supporters – in EU institutions and in member states,” explained Engel.

“Hungarian investigative journalists have now revealed, on the basis of the Panama papers data, that millions of euros were paid into offshore accounts in Hungary just before and months after the transfer of Ramil Safarov to Azerbaijan,” continued the MEP. “The transactions took place between pre-existing companies, which have been liquidated some time afterwards.”

“It is likely impossible to determine who exactly paid whom, but now there is no doubt that the transfer of Safarov was bought. This should encourage Hungarian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter – if there is an authority left in that country which would dare to investigate such a thing,” Engel concluded.

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