German Bundestag lifts immunity of MP accused of accepting bribes from Azerbaijan

The Bundestag has lifted the immunity of CDU MP Axel Fischer. This enables investigators to search the politician’s apartments and business premises, Zeit Online reports.

The Union politician is being investigated on suspicion of corruption; he is said to have accepted money from Azerbaijan.

Six properties in Baden-Württemberg and Berlin will be searched, including Fischer’s office in the Bundestag. According to this, around 60 officials from the General Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Federal Criminal Police Office are on duty. This was preceded by extensive investigations directed against former and active members of the Bundestag who were part of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

The public prosecutor’s notice stated: “Between 2008 and 2016 you are accused of having received funds from Azerbaijan via British mailbox companies with Baltic accounts, among other things.” Associated with this was the request to exert influence in the interests of delegates from the state of Azerbaijan in motions and votes on various resolutions as well as in the filling of functions and commissions of the Council of Europe.

The Karlsruhe CDU politician rejected the allegations. “That will be cleared up, but of course my reputation will be ruined by then,” he told the Augsburger Allgemeine. “The allegations are baseless. They unearthed something old about Azerbaijan,” he said.

According to Business Insider magazine, Fischer withdrew from the German delegation for the Council of Europe in 2017. It was triggered by reports that Azerbaijan’s authoritarian ruler Ilham Aliyev had tried years earlier to influence parliamentarians in the Council of Europe in order to polish his image.

According to the report, Fischer is also said to have repeatedly made positive comments about Azerbaijan and the elections, although there were clear signs of election fraud.

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