Has Azerbaijan been vindicated by a Milan court?

Acquitted of money laundering, Italian politician still under investigation for corruption related to the Azerbaijani Laundromat

Italian politician Luca Volonte has been


of money laundering but is still under investigation for corruption, contradicting statements made by Azerbaijani presidential aide Ali Hasanov.

On 14 February, Luca Volonte’s lawyers


that a Milan court had acquitted their client on charges of money laundering. The former member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is


to have accepted millions of dollars from Azerbaijan in exchange for political favors, according to the Azerbaijani Laundromat investigations carried out by OCCRP.

The day Volonte was acquitted of money laundering, presidential aide Ali Hasanov


that Azerbaijan had been vindicated by the court’s decision. Referring to the Azerbaijani Laundromat as an “anti-Azerbaijani smear campaign,” Hasanov said that OCCRP’s investigation had been “ruled groundless by a court verdict.” The Azerbaijani official promised legal proceedings against the investigative journalists who exposed the influence-buying scheme.

But Volonte remains under investigation on charges of corruption.

On 15 February, editor and co-founder of OCCRP, Drew Sullivan,


to Hasanov’s comments in a tweet. “To the corrupt family-run dictatorship of Azerbaijan and Mr. Ali Hasanov who likes to threaten journalists,” Sullivan wrote: “You are wrong. Mr. Volonte was acquitted of money laundering charges but still faces corruption charges for the money your country sent him. We have more coming.”

Note: Meydan TV is a member of OCCRP’s network of investigative journalists.

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