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Gusenbauer advised Azerbaijan's deputies for 120,000 euros

Gusenbauer advised Azerbaijan’s deputies for 120,000 euros

In 2014, former Federal Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer (SPÖ) received 120,000 euros from Azerbaijan via an offshore company, according to “Profile” and “ORF”. According to “Profil”, Gusenbauer confirms that “Gusenbauer Projektentwicklungs und Beteiligungs GmbH” carried out a “six-month paid training and counseling project for members of the Republic of Azerbaijan” that year. There were no payments to third parties.

According to “Profil” (online), the money flowed through an account in Danske Bank in Estonia, which was owned by the Scottish offshore company Faberlex LP. The Danske Bank branch in Estonia is at the center of one of the biggest money laundering scandals in Europe.

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The mailbox company Faberlex, in turn, had an address in the Azerbaijani capital Baku in addition to its registration in Scotland, writes “Profile”. The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), an investigative network focused on Eastern Europe, accuses Faberlex of being a significant company in an offshore network through which large sums of money were moved westward as anonymously as possible. For example, a man named at Danske Bank as a Faberlex official is actually a driver for a bank in Baku who says he doesn’t know anything about the business.

Azerbaijan is repeatedly associated with bribing politicians in the West. In 2018, for example, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe sanctioned a former president and three other members because a report on corruption accused them of working for money for autocratic Azerbaijan. According to eyewitnesses, for example, a member of the Azerbaijani lobby handed over 500 euros in banknotes to members of the association. That is why they must show the human and civil rights situation in the former Soviet Republic in a good light.

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In Italy, at the beginning of the year, a former deputy was sentenced to four years in prison for corruption. He had received 2.39 million euros from Azerbaijan, he wrote in “Profile”.

In his statement to Profile, Gusenbauer noted that he was “not aware of any relevant international classification of Azerbaijan as a ‘repressive regime’ since 2014”. Nor were there sanctions from the Western community of nations.