Former PACE member sentenced to 4 years for bribes from Azerbaijani politicians

A Milan court in Italy has sentenced Luca Giuseppe Volontè, former member of the Union of the Centre (UDC) and former member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), to 4 years in prison for taking bribery. Caucasian Knot online media reported with reference to La Repubblica Italian newspaper.

The politician was found guilty of abuse of his function by receiving a bribe from two Azerbaijani politicians in order to block the adoption of the PACE report on political prisoners in Azerbaijan in 2013.

The investigation against Volonte was initiated after a suspicious transaction report by an Italian bank concerning some transfers received by the politician in 2012-2013 in the amount of €2,4 million from British companies through Danske Bank in Estonia and Baltikums Bank in Riga in Latvia, Il Fatto Quotidian Italian newspaper noted.

The payments were formalized as royalties for consulting services.

However, the prosecutors managed to prove the receipt of only €500,000.

The money has been transferred to Volontè by former head of the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE Elkhan Suleymanov and his colleague Muslim Mammadov, according to Il Fatto Quotidian. Both politicians were also fined €500,000 each.

Luca Giuseppe Volontè did not plead guilty and is going to appeal the ruling. Volonte’s advocates refuted the charges as absolutely groundless