BAKU– Additional revelations over Azerbaijan’s corruption scheme that have come about in the last couple of days have exposed a former CNN employee’s role in the scandal.
The report called “Azerbaijani Laundromat” by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) revealed that former CNN producer Eckart Sager received nearly $2.6 million from British companies including Hilux Services. The money was transferred to Sager’s account in the UAE.
The revelation notes that Sager, receiving money from Azerbaijan, published articles propagating the Azerbaijani visions on various issues or defended pro-Azerbaijani figures.
“One of the articles defends Italian parliamentarian Luca Volontè accused of receiving money from Azerbaijan and reviewing the report by the PACE on human rights violations in Azerbaijan,” reads the article that exposes Azerbaijani corruption deals.
Banking records revealing some 2.5 billion euro (US$ 2.9 billion) in transactions were leaked to the Danish newspaper Berlingske, which shared them with OCCRP. The two outlets then organized a collaborative investigation to track down where the money went. According to the Project, the money was spent on bribing European politicians, decision-makers, journalists and other figures to make pro-Azerbaijani decisions or depict Azerbaijan under favorable light.
In addition on September 14, former Azerbaijan Ambassador to the EU, Arif Mammadov announced another recent update on his Facebook page regarding the “Azerbaijan Laundromat.”
The former ambassador wrote that the next revelation linked to this corruption scheme is involving a sex-scandal with the participation of Azerbaijan authorities and MEPs.
“I have already written that the key lobbyist of Azerbaijan in France, the President of the Association of Friends of Azerbaijan in France Jean-Francois Mancel and his wife are perverted and, sorry for giving so many details, they are fond of orgies. Almost all of the lobbyists have sexual deviations and strange sexual preferences. Baku was one of the beloved places for fun of different senators and MEPs. They come to Azerbaijan under the pretext of a working visit, but in reality they come to Baku for intimate relations and of course, it’s Azerbaijan who pays for all these. The hotel rooms where those meetings took place were equipped with cameras in advance and the authorities have videotaped everything.
I think our authorities, reading all these, will understand that I know much more,” reads Mammadov’s post on Facebook.
The former ambassador believes that footage might come to surface now there everything is out in the open.
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.”