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2024, 21 May, çərşənbə axşamı, Bakı vaxtı 08:24

Azerbaijan Official Calls OCCRP Report Unfounded

Azerbaijan - Ali Hasanov, Head of the Department for Social and Political Affairs at President's Administration - 2014
Azerbaijan - Ali Hasanov, Head of the Department for Social and Political Affairs at President's Administration - 2014

Ali Hasanov, assistant to the President of Azerbaijan on social and political issues, accused OCCRP of black PR adding it to a long list of enemies engaged in a smear campaign against Azerbaijan.

May 27, OCCRP released an investigative story detailing the murky deal between the country’s largest Telecom Company, Azercell and the Swedish-Finnish telecom giant TeliaSonera during a takeover. Investigated by the reporters from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), Swedish Television’s program “Uppdrag Granskning” (“Mission Investigate”) and the Swedish News Agency TT the story is the result of months long research which uncovered “a scheme to transfer the states shares of the profitable mobile carrier into the hands of a “local partner” with numerous links to the ruling Aliyev family […] The deal was not only grossly unethical, appeared to be designed to transfer government wealth into the hands of a company closely linked to Aliyev family but possibly criminal”.

Hasanov, in an interview with Baku based said the story was nothing but a new “creative” attempt and part of certain circles in the West engaged in “black public relations” campaign against Azerbaijan.

“Such institutions that are in close contact with some Western circles are used as tools to pressure independent countries like Azerbaijan. The very same institutions, publish unfounded and false materials disguised under the “journalistic investigations” stories against some countries, including Azerbaijan”, commented Hasanov.

“We also inform them, that such cheap and primitive methods wont work in Azerbaijan. They can be assured they wont succeed at influencing Azerbaijan’s independent policies and will get an deserved response”.

In the meantime, writing from prison, Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative reporter who has cooperated with OCCRP and published a series of other articles exposing corruption in Azerbaijan said, "this investigation, along with others, is the reason for my arrest. More investigations of this kind are needed. That’s because black money helps governments to keep their nations enslaved. Plus, it strengthens the notion of that ‘Europeans are also involved in corruption,’ thus, people lose the confidence in the existence of alternative and corruption-free societies."