Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   22 January

Armenia’s Arpine Hovhannisyan releases details over PACE Committee decision to apply sanctions on 4 members

YEREVAN, MAY 16, ARMENPRESS. Arpine Hovhannisyan, head of the Armenian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), releases details of the PACE Committee decision to apply sanctions on four lawmakers in connection with the Azerbaijani corruption scandal, Armenpress reports.

Hovhannisyan said on Facebook that the Independent Investigation Body presented its report on corruption discoveries during the PACE April session.

“The investigation has been formed based on the findings of the PACE secretariat staff, PACE delegates, testimonies of several ambassadors of CoE member states, international non-governmental organizations and media. The report touches upon the cases of lobbying in PACE, giving bribes by Azerbaijan to the PACE lawmakers. Among those who were engaged in illegal activity are current and former PACE delegates. Based on the disclosures of the report Romanian lawmaker, president of the EPP political group at PACE Cezar Preda submitted his resignation from the head of the group”, Arpine Hovhannisyan writes.

Based on the report of the Independent Investigation Body, a respective resolution was adopted at PACE which called on current PACE delegates involved in corruption deals to resign.

The PACE Committee on Rules of Procedure on May 15 has found that four individual members named in the report of the Independent Investigation Body looking into allegations of corruption within the Assembly have “seriously breached” its Code of Conduct, and ruled that all four should be temporarily deprived of a number of rights in the Assembly – including the right to be appointed or act as a rapporteur, to stand for a number of key posts, or to observe elections.

Following a hearing yesterday in Paris with three of the four members concerned – the fourth had already attended an earlier hearing – the committee decided that the sanctions should apply to former PACE President Pedro Agramunt (Spain, NR) for a period of ten years, and Cezar Florin Preda (Romania, EPP/CD), Samad Seyidov (Azerbaijan, EC) and Jordi Xuclà (Spain, ALDE) for a period of two years.

All four, while remaining members of the Assembly with the right to speak, will be banned during these periods from acting as a rapporteur or an election observer, and cannot be Chair or Vice-Chair of any committee or sub-committee, or stand for election as President of the Assembly.

They will not be able to represent the Assembly or its committees at any third-party events, and will also be deprived of the right to address questions to the Committee of Ministers, the Council of Europe’s executive body.

English –translator/editor: Aneta Harutyunyan


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