Ex-diplomat Arif Mammadov exposed in corruption affairs

Baku, August 12, AZERTAC

According to the Action Plan 2015, as well as assumption of risk of substantial financial damage to the state, the Chamber of Accounts probed into illegal usage of the finances allocated to the maintenance of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Azerbaijan with the Council of Europe, tampering with the official documents and connivance of serious financial violations in 2007-2012. Subject to the previous public announcement of the 15th July 2015, the Chamber of Accounts referred its findings to the General Prosecutor's Office (GPO) of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The GPO Press Service has confirmed that the Anticorruption Directorate (ACD) under the Prosecutor General reaffirmed the findings of the Chamber of Accounts and subsequently formally launched a criminal investigation into accounts of embezzlement in large scales under Section 179.3.2 and abuse of office leading to the grave consequences under Section 308 of the Penal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Preliminary findings of the criminal investigation revealed the accounts of abuse of office and official status in order to divert public funds, embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds in large scales, forgery of official documents by including false information and a series of other violations, which took place in the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Council of Europe during the course of employment of Arif MAMMADOV as the head of the Mission.

While abusing his office, as the Head of the Mission, Arif MAMMADOV availed himself of the 27% concession to the price of automobiles sold to diplomatic representations, in order to purchase SUV BMW X5 from BMW car dealership in the city of Strasbourg. On 11th February 2011, he deposited 43,000.00 Euro with the account of the Permanent Mission and later transferred the amount to the account of car dealership. While he purchased car for himself, he declared it to be purchased by the Mission by forging the official documents, breached the tax legislation by evading tax payments in the amount of 8,000.00 Euros and later sold this car to the third person.

ACD has filed a mutual legal assistance request in criminal matters with the French authorities in order to examine the nature of the aforementioned violations of the tax legislation of France.

Contrary to the law, Arif MAMMADOV acted as the treasurer of the Permanent Mission thereby allowing serious financial violations in funding of the social-cultural and other events. Whereas TURKSOY, the International Turkic Cultural Organization, fully funded the Novruz celebrations in March 2010 in Strasbourg, Arif MAMMADOV withdrew 11,600.00 Euros from the Treasury of the Permanent Mission under the pretext of funding these celebrations and misappropriated this money accordingly. The management of TURKSOY provided to the investigation authority the necessary documents supporting its funding of the celebrations.

The criminal investigation further revealed that Arif MAMMADOV abused his position and office and forged documents in order to misappropriate funds that he allocated for non-existent expenses connected with arranging the visits of official delegations. While the Parliament spent 19,900.00 Euros on reception, dinner and other expenses related to the visit of Parliamentary Delegations to Strasbourg on the 4th October 2007 and 19th September 2012, Arif MAMMADOV forged the official documents in order to declare the expenses in the foresaid amount as carried by the Permanent Mission and subsequently misappropriated the allocated money. Office of the Chief Executive of the Parliament provided to the investigation authority the necessary documents supporting its funding of the indicated visits.

While Arif MAMMADOV withdrew total amount of his monthly wage from June till October 2007 in the amount of 18,500.00 Euros, he managed to re-gain his monthly wage for October 2007 in the amount of 3,700.00 Euros by means of official forgery.

Furthermore, while it was incumbent on him to cover the electricity bills for his private residence, in line with the legislation, he spent funds of the Permanent Mission in order to cover these expenses for the period of 2007-2012, thereby diverting the public funds in the amount of 6,500.00 Euros.

In an act of gross abuse of the office, Arif MAMMADOV sold 2 cars belonging to the Permanent Mission worth 25,300.00 Euros for the price of 7,100.00 Euros, without authorization by the State Committee on Property Affairs, thereby inflicting substantial financial damage to the state.

In gross violation of the requirements of the existing legislation, Arif MAMMADOV failed to ensure public spending according to defined direction and use, as well as spent budgetary funds in the amount of 410,830.00 without supporting documents.

Based on the reasonable suspicion, arising in the course of the criminal investigation, Arif MAMMADOV has been indicted with abuse of office leading to the grave consequences (PC Section 308.2), misappropriation and embezzlement of public funds in large scale using official position (PC Section 179.3.2), official forgery (PC Section 313) and theft and destruction of official documents, clichés or stamps (PC Section 326.1). An arrest warrant has been issued by court and international search declared.

The National Central Bureau of Interpol in Azerbaijan takes necessary measures to apprehend and hand over the fugitive to the investigation authority.

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