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)

Solicitude

Support Transparency International

Three priorities at the Open Government Partnership summit

This week, the Open Government Partnership is holding its 5th global summit in Tbilisi, Georgia. Transparency International is there in force, pushing for action in three key areas.

Civil society’s crucial role in sustainable development

Key players in the development community are meeting in New York for the main United Nations conference on sustainable development, the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). Transparency International is there to highlight how corruption obstructs development and report on how effectively countries are tackling this issue.

Comment gagner la lutte contre la corruption en Afrique

Aujourd’hui est la Journée africaine de lutte contre la corruption – une occasion opportunité pour reconnaitre le progrès dans la lutte contre la corruption en Afrique et le travail significatif qui reste encore à accomplir.

How to win the fight against corruption in Africa

African Anti-Corruption Day is an important opportunity to recognise both the progress made in the fight against corruption in Africa and the significant work still left to do.

Increasing accountability and safeguarding billions in climate finance

In December 2015, governments from around the world came together to sign the Paris Agreement, agreeing to tackle climate change and keep global warming under two degrees centigrade. They committed to spend US$100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and protect themselves against the potentially devastating effects of climate change.

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.

Why rather

Follow us on Why rather