German authorities asked to investigate elected officials over Azerbaijani Laundromat bribery scandal

Issued by Transparency International Germany



Transparency Germany, Transparency International’s national chapter, has filed a criminal complaint against the Bundestag member Karin Strenz (Christian Democratic Union of Germany, CDU) and the former Bundestag member Eduard Lintner (Christian Social Union in Bavaria, CSU) over an alleged bribery case orchestrated by the Azerbaijani government. The watchdog has asked the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Berlin to determine if the two politicians violated the German Criminal Code’s section 108e on bribery and corruption of elected officials.

The evidence for the criminal complaint stems from the leaked bank records from 2012 to 2014 that were analysed by the Organized Crime and Corruption Project. Investigative journalists revealed that the Azerbaijani ruling elite operated a US$3 million slush fund and a money laundering scheme to, among other things, bribe politicians to water down critical human rights resolutions and election observation reports. At the centre of the scheme was the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), where Strenz and Lintner were delegates.

Edda Müller, Chair of Transparency Germany, explains: "We believe the prosecution has to examine whether there are sufficient indications of an initial suspicion of parliamentarian bribery that needs to be dealt with under criminal law. Therefore, we filed a criminal complaint with the Prosecutor General's Office in Berlin."

The Azerbaijani Laundromat revelations shook Europe when they were published in 2017. The independent investigation set up in the wake of the scandal determined that Eduard Lintner lobbied in favour of the Azerbaijani government, while Karin Strenz’s involvement in PACE’s work on Azerbaijan was tainted by a conflict of interest. They were both banned for life from the Council of Europe and the premises of the Assembly. Further, PACE asked national authorities of all offending delegates – including Germany – to follow up on the allegations of corruption, take the necessary measures with respect to specified cases and report back to the Assembly by the end of the 2018.

Earlier this year, Bundestag reprimanded Karin Strenz over her violation of the parliamentary code of conduct. Today, German media reported that Bundestag has made a decision to impose the most severe type of sanction available and that Strenz will have to pay a fine of about €20,000.

Also this month, PACE’s Legal Affairs Committee expressed concern over the lack of accountability for the Azerbaijani Laundromat and other money laundering scandals. The Committee noted that while Karin Strenz has faced a parliamentary sanction, it is unknown if any action has been taken against Lintner.

Transparency Germany believes that the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office should seek accountability on this high-profile bribery scandal. Accountability on this matter will also help deter similar abuses in the future.  

 


For any press enquiries please contact

T: +49 (0)30 54 98 98 0
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Latest

Support Transparency International

Asylum for Sale: Refugees say some U.N. workers demand bribes for resettlement

A 7-month investigation found reports of UN staff members exploiting refugees desperate for a safe home in a new country. By Journalists for Transparency reporter Sally Hayden.

Four ways the G20 can take the lead on anti-corruption

The globalisation of world trade and finance has been accompanied by an internationalisation of corruption. The G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group therefore has the potential to be a very important partner in the fight for a more just world.

Venezuela: Se necesitan instituciones sólidas para abordar la delincuencia organizada

La corrupción en las más altas esferas del Gobierno venezolano ha causado inestabilidad social y económica extrema y ha debilitado a las instituciones estatales que deberían proteger a la ciudadanía. Las redes de delincuencia organizada actúan con impunidad en todo el país.

Venezuela: Strong institutions needed to address organised crime

Corruption in the top echelons of the Venezuelan government has led to extreme instability and weak state institutions, and allows organised crime networks to act with impunity all across the country.

The trillion dollar question: the IMF and anti-corruption one year on

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has made public commitments and adopted a new framework to address corruption - we check how the IMF is progressing with this one year later.

Three years after the Panama Papers: progress on horizon

The explosive Pulitzer Prize-winning global media project known as the "Panama Papers" turned three years old, and there are many reasons to celebrate.

Call for papers: the Global Asset Registry workshop – Paris, July 1-2

ICRICT, the World Inequality Lab project, Tax Justice Network, and Transparency International are co-hosting a workshop to develop the framework for a Global Asset Registry in Paris on July 1-2. The organisers wish to invite original, high-quality papers for presentation.

Troika Laundromat signals a different kind of financial crisis

The Troika Laundromat investigation shines a spotlight on a cast of new and familiar characters in the ongoing saga surrounding flows of dirty money through the world’s financial system.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media