A regional meeting of the Transparency International was held

Posted by: | Posted on: Июнь 29, 2019

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The representative of the Azerbaijan national chapter attended the event

On June, 2019, a regional meeting of Eastern Europe and CIS chapters of Transparency International was held in Berlin. The event was attended by representatives from 50 countries.

The national chapters and the existing situation in those countries, the principles of organization Secretariat’s work with the national chapters and the issues of improvement of the relationships have been discussed at the event

During the event, the participants also exchanged views on the protection of the person reporting corruption offenses, honesty and political corruption, and the results of the survey conducted on the Transparency International 2030 Vision Strategy.

Ramil Iskandarli, Deputy Executive Director of the Transparency Azerbaijan Anti-Corruption Public Union, which is natoional chapter of the Transparency International participated a the event. He informed about changes in Azerbaijan’s national legislation on protection of the persons reporting on corruption offenses in Azerbaijan. R. Iskandarli offered to discuss the issues of cooperation with anito-corruption agencies and particularly for the protection of the persons reporting the corruption offenses at the annual Congress of the Transparency International.

P.S. Photo of Ms. Delia Matilde Ferreira Rubio (Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Transparency International) and Ramil Iskandarli.

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Wife of jailed banker who spent £16million Harrods facing extradition

Posted by: | Posted on: Июнь 25, 2019

9ad3110e-the_london_economic_logo_eThe London Economic: The wife of a jailed banker who spent £16million in luxury department store Harrods is facing extradition to Azerbaijan under new ‘McMafia laws’.

Zamira Hajiyeva, 55, is said to have embezzled £15million from the country’s state bank – some of which makes up the shopping sprees at the Knightsbridge landmark. She has been targeted by the National Crime Agency after so-called anti-corruption ‘McMafia’ laws came into force last year.

The legislation, named after the popular BBC series, allows authorities to seize and liquidate the assets of wealthy foreigners who fail to prove where they got their money from. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard today (Mon) Hajiyeva has never provided any information about the source of her cash – but had ten credit cards in her name from the International Bank of Azerbaijan. She is now selling her jewellery to fund her lifestyle as she has ‘no income’, the court heard. Her husband Jahangir Hajiyev, 57, was jailed for 15 years in October 2016 for his part in a conspiracy to grant interest and guarantee-free loans without providing proper documentation. The banker only earned up to $70,600 a year, it was said, and could not have funded his wife’s lavish lifestyle of health and wellness retreats and shopping sprees at luxury boutiques.

Prosecutors say Hajiyeva must have been beneficiary of the ‘generous’ loans and was able to increase credit card limits through forged signatures and fraud. Representing Azerbaijan, Helen Malcolm QC said: “Mrs Hajiyeva is the subject of an extradition request issued in October last year. She is the wife of the former chairman of the International Bank of Azerbaijan. “Her husband was a state employee who earned money somewhere between $29,000 to $70,600 dollars per annum – according to the public record and the judgement in connection with this case. “He was convicted in Azerbaijan in October 2016 and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. “This was related in part to a large number of loans taken out from the bank without appropriate documentation and forgery of the signature of the alleged borrowers of those loans. “A vast sum of money I believe some $97million dollars was obtained by 28 credit cards. “More than 30 people are accused in Azerbaijan and one of them is the lady before you. Ten of those 28 credit cards were issued issued in her name by her and linked to her accounts. “She withdrew sums partly in Azerbaijan both from ATM machines in cash and partly through a number of luxury boutiques, hotels and restaurants and what are referred to as grand department stores which I imagine is a reference to Harrods among others. “She spent money in US dollars, pounds sterling and euros. Once you convert the sums into Azerbaijan manat you get a number of slightly differing total amounts. It’s somewhere between £14.5m and £15.5m that she spent on those credit cards. “Her husband doesn’t appear to have had anything like the income that would have supported that kind of spending. Her representatives have responded to this court that she has no income of her own and is currently attempting to sell her jewellery through Christie’s in order to fund her lifestyle.

“The National Crime Agency have recently seized £400,000 worth of the jewellery. “She has not provided any evidence as to how she could fund honestly the kind of sums she has been spending.” The court also heard Hajiyeva owns three houses in Knightsbridge, west London, which were bought in 2009 for over £11million. Ms Malcom said: “She is also it appears the ultimate beneficiary owner of three houses. “The properties are registered to a British Virgin Isles company and it appears she is the beneficiary owner of the BVI company. “Documents she has submitted to this country shows she is the beneficiary. There’s no indication how that could be lawfully funded.” It was said the fraud was carried out by Hajiyeva’s husband at the bank by applying for interest and guarantee free loans – despite it being against the country’s laws to offer better terms to ‘related persons’ than other clients of the bank. Ms Malcom said: “Mrs Hajiyeva by the organisation of her husband applied for interest free and guarantee free loans without providing the necessary documents and in doing so deliberately embezzled the assets of the bank. “She was a related person to the legal identity of the international bank under the law of Azerbaijan which applies particular rules to the operation of banks with related persons. “In particular Article Four of the rules it is prohibited to grant related persons concessionary loans or generous terms that do not apply to other clients.

“In breach of those rules… ten bank cards linked to Mrs Hajiyeva’s bank accounts were provided and used through which she withdrew $13.5million, 2.79million Euros and 4.6million Azerbaijan manat.” The court heard an overview of the purchases made by Hajiyeva which included purchases of flight tickets for herself and members of her family, purchases of jewellery and gold and tuition fees for her three children. She also spent money in “grand department stores, beauty shops, health and wellness centres, hotels, restaurants and other places”. Hajiyeva’s knowledge of the fraud has been alleged by a bank worker, who is also a suspect in the embezzlement and says in a statement he had regular correspondence with his colleague’s wife about credit limits and other technical issues. Ms Malcom concluded: “She knew both that the credit cards were issued by and that the source of the funds was the Interntional Bank of Azerbaijan.” It was also said that Hajiyeva is blocking extradition to her home country on the basis she will not receive a fair trial because of her political views. But the barrister said there was ‘no suggestion’ that the fraud prosecution was politically motivated, and the government were ‘unaware’ she even had any political views. Ms Malcom said: “There is no suggestion in our position the this is a political prosecution. Mr Hajiyeva doesn’t seem to have disputed the amounts of money that he took from the International Bank. “This requested person has never disputed she took and spent those sums. She has, as far as we are aware, no political opinions. We are unaware. “There is no question of this being a political vendetta against her.” The extradition hearing, expected to last three days, continues.

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UN Public Service Forum gets underway in Baku

Posted by: | Posted on: Июнь 24, 2019

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Baku, June 24, AZERTAC

Co-organized by the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the United Nations, the UN Public Service Forum has today kicked off at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku.

First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva attended the opening ceremony of the Forum.

First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva made a speech at the event.

Speakers at the event included the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin, Chairman of the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ulvi Mehdiyev, and Rector of Gunadarma University, Vice-president of Indonesian Private University Association Prof. Eko Sri Margianti.

Liu Zhenmin then presented the UN special award for promoting innovation in the digital public service delivery in Azerbaijan to First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva.

The Forum is annually held ahead of the UN Public Service Day since June 23, 2003. The purpose of the Forum is to hold discussions related to the issues on public administration, advanced public service delivery models, innovations and relevant topics in this field, as well as to ensure interstate exchange of advanced practices in this area. The Forum will also feature the award ceremony of the most advanced and innovative models in the field of public services.

The Forum involves more than 500 delegates from over 190 countries, including ministers of public administration and public services from various countries, as well as senior executives of local authorities, academic circles and private sector. The event will feature plenary sessions, different workshops and parallel events. It also plans to award this year’s winners of the UN Public Services Award in 5 different categories. Furthermore, the State Agency is planning to sign cooperation agreements with a number of foreign countries.

The most important factors contributing to the organization of the forum in the Republic of Azerbaijan are achievements of the country in the field of public services, the successful activity of “ASAN service” and receiving the UN Public Service Award in 2015.

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WORLD WHISTLEBLOWER DAY 2019 – IS THIS A LANDMARK YEAR FOR WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION?

Posted by: | Posted on: Июнь 23, 2019

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The brave individuals who report wrongdoing at work are vital for exposing corrupt schemes and actions. Countless lives and billions of dollars of public funds have been saved thanks to whistleblowers. Too often, however, they face retaliation after bringing corruption, fraud and financial malpractice to light. These attacks are sometimes professional, sometimes legal, and can even be directed against the whistleblower’s family, property or physical and mental well-being.

Many times, those who enact revenge on whistleblowers are able to get away with it because there aren’t sufficient measures in place to protect whistleblowers from retaliation.

But, is change around the corner?

This year, we celebrate World Whistleblower Day, 23 June, with some serious wins for whistleblower protection already behind us in 2019, and some encouraging developments on the horizon.

In Europe, over half a billion people have been assured protection for reporting wrongdoing at work, thanks to the EU directive which was agreed in March. Member States have until October 2021 to transpose the Directive into national laws. After that, there will finally be a coherent set of standards across the EU, which will guarantee that people who speak out aren’t punished for their bravery.

Anna Garrido Ramos — Anti Corruption Aüard Winner

The EU directive has a lot of strengths, thanks in large part to the broad coalition of civil society, including Transparency International, trade unions and freedom of expression advocates who worked hard to make sure the EU took a stance that really looks after the interests of those who speak out.

But there is still room for improvement. In particular, when the directive becomes law in a Member State, national governments need to make sure that the law covers every possible whistleblowing situation and protects all whistleblowers. The Directive itself only covers people who report suspected breaches in certain areas of EU law. If this were to remain the case at the national level, it would create all kinds of loopholes, and make it difficult for people to understand whether they will be protected if they blow the whistle on corruption or other wrongdoing.

Elsewhere, in February this year, Australia set a new standard in private sector whistleblower protection . Companies there now have to proactively put in place protections to that will safeguard people who speak out. The next step should be for government employees to be afforded the same level of protection.

And in April, investigative journalists, who often work closely with whistleblowers and have a special responsibility to help keep them safe from retaliation, agreed a set of principles to guide these interactions. As we highlighted in a conference panel around the same time, the extent to which the media protects whistleblower’s identity can make the difference between the case of John Doe, who leaked the Panama Papers and remains safe and anonymous, and others who have been dragged through multiple court cases and public attacks.

Whistleblower protection has been declared a priority for the G20’s anti-corruption work this year, which we’ll be watching closely at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, later this month. Some 4.7 billion people live in a country represented at the summit, so it is a huge opportunity to extend protection to almost two-thirds of the global population.

We are asking G20 governments to adopt rigorous High Level Principles that meet international best practice standards, like our own international principles for whistleblower protection legislation. They should cover the public, private and non-profit sectors, and give the widest possible protection.

The days when a civil servant, company employee, intern or consultant could be punished for reporting illegal activity can and should be consigned to history.

Let’s hope we can one day look back on 2019 as a turning point in that story.

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

 

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Azerbaijan: progress in implementation of recommendations on corruption prevention among parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors, but measures on asset disclosure still lacking

Posted by: | Posted on: Июнь 19, 2019

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The Council of Europe anti-corruption group GRECO in a new report published today noted progress in the implementation by Azerbaijan of the recommendations on corruption prevention in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors. As of now, thirteen out of the total of twenty-one recommendations have been implemented satisfactorily, five recommendations have been partly implemented and three recommendations remain not implemented.

  • Link to the Second Compliance Report of Fourth Evaluation Round on Azerbaijan: https://rm.coe.int/fourth-evaluation-round-corruption-prevention-in-respect-of-members-of/168094f9b1

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