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Azerbaijan’s bribes to journalists and politicians total 2.9 billion dollars


After the Danish daily newspaper Berlingske received confidential documents stolen from its former owner, Danske Bank, it had them analysed by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). From this analysis, it appears that Azerbaijan has set up an extensive system of illegal public relations.

These documents verify that between 2012 and 2014, Azerbaijan had used Danske Bank as a conduit to channel 2.9 billion dollars to bribe journalists and politicians.

Intermediaries who received illegal payments by Azerbaijan include:
- Eduard Lintner (the former German MP from the CSU. At the time these events took place, he was President of the Commission for Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.)
- Luca Volontè (the Italian MP from the Catholic group, “Communion and Liberation”. At the time these events took place, he was President of the Parliamentary Group of “Parti populaire européen” in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe).
- Kalin Mitrev (recently appointed director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development). He is the spouse of Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO.
- Zmago Jelinčič Plemeniti (former correspondent for the British Secret Service, leader of the Slovenian Extreme Right).

These revelations are clearly no more free than the lobbying seeking to cover up President Aliyev’s crimes. The OCCRP is indirectly funded by Washington and focuses its research attacking either Russia directly or the states or individuals that support her. This inquiry had been reproduced by about ten leading daily newspapers in Western Europe. Today, the Berlingske is owned by the Belgian magnate Christian Van Thillo.

In July 2017, we had referred to the investigation carried out by the Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva. This shed light on the massive arms trafficking operation by Azerbaijan, acting on behalf of the CIA and also the private investment fund KKR [1], involving at least 17 governments. Of course, since these revelations challenge the United States, they do not attract the OCCRP’s interest. As for Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, she has been arrested by the Bulgarian secret services. Because she refused to fess up the name of her source to the Azeri government, she has been dismissed from her newspaper, Trud - though in fairness to the latter, it was not afraid to publish her investigation.

The Azerbaijani Laundromat”, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, September 5, 2017.

Anoosha Boralessa

[1] “Billions of dollars’ worth of arms against Syria”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 18 July 2017.

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