Who financed trips of US congressmen to Azerbaijan? FBI investigation and commentary from Baku
US congressman’s trips to Azerbaijan
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation searched the house of Congressman Henry Cuellar, former co-chairman of the Azerbaijani faction in the lower house of the US Parliament. The investigation is connected with a probe into the financing of visits by the Azerbaijani state-owned company. According to the politician, the cause of the scandal is the misunderstanding of world realities on the part of the Azerbaijani authorities.
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Search of congressman’s house
Recently, agents of the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) searched the home of Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar, ABC News reported.
According to the source, the raid was carried out as part of a wide-ranging federal investigation involving Azerbaijani and several American businessmen.
Cuellar’s aide said the congressman “will fully cooperate (with the authorities) during the investigation”.
Cuellar has been a member of the US Congress since 2005. In recent years, he has been a co-chair of the Azerbaijani faction in the lower house of the US Parliament and has repeatedly met with Azerbaijani officials, including Azerbaijani Ambassador to Washington, Elin Suleymanov, the newspaper notes.
Representatives of the FBI and the Department of Justice have not yet commented on this story.
Kemal Kevin Oksuz, a Turkish-American, is also involved in this case under investigation.
Who is Kemal Kevin Oksuz?
Arrested in Armenia in 2018 on an Interpol “red order”, US citizen of Turkish origin Kemal Kevin Oksuz carried out lobbying activities in the US in favor of Azerbaijan.
In testimony in the case of congressmen’s visits to Azerbaijan, Oksyuz confessed to his false reports to representatives of the congress.
Thus, Oksyuz, in his reports on the organization of visits of several representatives of the US Parliament to Azerbaijan in 2013, noted that he financed them at the expense of his organization and did not receive financial assistance from abroad.
According to one of the versions of the investigation, Kemal Kevin Oksuz thus hid from the authorities the scheme for financing the trip by the state-owned company SOCAR.
Comment from Baku
Commenting on the events around the US congressman’s trips to Azerbaijan, politician and executive secretary of the opposition Republican Alternative Party of Azerbaijan, Natig Jafarli, noted that the main problem is the lack of understanding of world realities by the Azerbaijani authorities.
“Everyone knows that lobbying is perfectly legal in the US. There are special laws governing such activities. But for some reason, both the Azerbaijani authorities and local companies are not in trouble with legal activities. All this could be legalized, appropriate agreements could be signed, and this would not arouse suspicion in anyone.
Take Ukraine, around which there is so much restlessness today. This state has several lobbying groups operating in the American parliament at once. All quite legal. Contracts have been signed with these people, everything is transparent. Senators and congressmen who lobby a certain country may even receive monetary rewards for this. The laws in the US allow this.
The scandal around visits to Azerbaijan actually arose due to the fact that the facts of financing were hidden. Although, this could be done in a civil way. SOCAR was supposed to conclude agreements. Nothing more. We just had to follow the laws.
As you can see, the main reason for the scandal is the misunderstanding of world realities by the Azerbaijani authorities. It is possible and necessary to work with global think tanks and follow laws. And not to think that since we have money, we can buy everything”, Jafarli said.