A Milan court has found Luca Volontè , former deputy and member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, guilty of accepting a substantial bribe from Azerbaijani officials and sentenced him to four years in prison for corruption, La Repubblica reported.
“According to the prosecution, he received half a million euros from two Azerbaijani politicians to guide the vote and obtain the rejection of a report on prisoners of war in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) to the advantage of the Azerbaijani government.” He was found guilty of taking about two million euros from Azeri politicians, who were given the same four-year sentence, ANSA news agency reported. Azerbaijan’s “Caviar Diplomacy” is euphemistic considered the billions spent on lobbying anti-Armenian, pro-Azerbaijani and Turkish misinformation.
The Italian press reports that Volontè’s heinous transgressions date back to 2013, when “the so-called Straesser Report on the conditions of political prisoners in Azerbaijan was put to the vote (on 23 January). Pressure from the Azerbaijani government to reject the report in the Council of Europe Assembly according to the accusation came directly to Parliament and would have been addressed precisely to Volontè, a former Italian deputy. According to the investigative hypothesis, Volontè, who finished his mandate in that year, would have accepted the promise of 10 million euros to guide the choices of the institution, receiving about 2.4 million euros from public funds of Azerbaijan, through the mediation of companies and offshore bank accounts.” The investigations revealed that the accounts of the two Baltic institutions had been fed with about two hundred billion from Azerbaijan, which led to investigations in various European countries and to hypothesize the payment of bribes to other parliamentarians of the Council of Europe of different nations.
To note, in 2017, a scandal erupted in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, dubbed the “Azerbaijani Laundromat”. According to the facts that surfaced, Azerbaijan laundered $ 2.9 billion with the help of fictitious companies in the UK. This money was used to bribe European politicians who lobbied for Azerbaijan’s interests in the EU and blocked resolutions condemning human rights violations in the former Soviet republic.