Council of Europe must act on Azerbaijan reputational laundering, including sanctioning the corrupt

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



Transparency International is calling for tough anti-corruption measures, including sanctions on corrupt members, to restore trust in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in the face of a series of corruption allegations and the resignation of its president.

Transparency International welcomes this week’s scheduled vote by PACE to pass a resolution to strengthen its anti-corruption rules. But it calls on the organisation to move swiftly on current allegations.

The Council of Europe’s mandate is to uphold and strengthen democracy and human rights across its 47 member states.

On 4 September, investigations by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and its partners revealed that current and former members of PACE allegedly received payments to launder the image of Azerbaijan abroad. On 6 October, the president of PACE, Pedro Agramunt resigned before facing a motion to remove him.

“The new president of PACE must act fast against wrongdoing. It dragged its feet in the past when this issue first surfaced in 2012. It must not make the same mistake again,” said Patricia Moreira, managing director of Transparency International. “Members and former members of the parliamentary assembly who are proven to have received questionable financial benefits from Azerbaijan should be investigated and eventually prosecuted by their national authorities.”

Politicians have been implicated in Belgium, Germany, Italy and Slovenia, while reports of reputational laundering touch Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Hungary, Russia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Rather than wait for the independent external body appointed by the Council of Europe to finish its investigation into the wrongdoing, authorities in these countries should launch their own probes into the reports of political corruption, in addition to cooperating fully and effectively with this Council of Europe investigation and other such future investigations.

The member states of the Council of Europe should ensure that investigators can access all the information and documents they need, and have the authority to conduct on-the-spot checks and inspections.

Transparency International also calls upon the Council of Europe to establish a permanent investigative office as an effective mechanism to uncover future reputational laundering and bribery.

The Council of Europe and its member states must also adopt procedures that allow it to expel member who flout integrity rules and take bribes.  


For any press enquiries please contact

Michael Hornsby
T: +49 30 34 38 20 666
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Latest

Support Transparency International

Anti-Corruption Award 2018 - Nominations Open!

Our Anti-Corruption Award recognises the courage and determination of the many individuals and organisations fighting corruption around the world.

Nominate an anti-corruption hero today! 

After Gürtel, what next for Spain’s struggle with political corruption?

At the start of June, the Spanish parliament voted to oust Prime Minister Rajoy after his political party was embroiled in the biggest corruption scandal in Spain’s democratic history. At this critical juncture in Spain’s struggle with political corruption, Transparency International urges all parties to join forces against impunity and support anti-corruption efforts in public life.

Risk of impunity increases with outcome of Portuguese-Angolan corruption trial

A verdict last week by the Lisbon Court of Appeals in the trial of former Angolan vice president Manuel Vicente has disappointed hopes for a triumph of legal due process over politics and impunity. It also has worrying implications for the independence of Portugal’s judiciary.

The UK just made it harder for the corrupt to hide their wealth offshore

If counted together, the United Kingdom and its Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies would rank worst in the world for financial secrecy. Fortunately, this could soon change.

The new IMF anti-corruption framework: 3 things we’ll be looking for a year from now

Last Sunday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) unveiled its long-awaited framework for “enhanced” engagement with countries on corruption and governance issues. Here are three aspects we at Transparency International will be looking at closely in coming months as the new policy is rolled out.

While the G20 drags its feet, the corrupt continue to benefit from anonymous company ownership

The corrupt don’t like paper trails, they like secrecy. What better way to hide corrupt activity than with a secret company or trust as a front? You can anonymously open bank accounts, make transfers and launder dirty money. If the company is not registered in your name, it can't always be traced back to you.

Urging leaders to act against corruption in the Americas

The hot topic at the 2018 Summit of the Americas is how governments can combat corruption at the highest levels across North and South America.

The impact of land corruption on women: insights from Africa

As part of International Women’s Day, Transparency International is launching the Women, Land and Corruption resource book. This is a collection of unique articles and research findings that describe and analyse the prevalence of land corruption in Africa – and its disproportionate effect on women – presented together with innovative responses from organisations across the continent.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media