SOCAR reportedly funded secret trips for US congressmen

Source: The Washington Post

The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (“SOCAR”) reportedly funded an all-expenses-paid trip in May 2013 to a Baku conference for ten US congressmen and 32 staff members,

The Washington Post

reported on May 13, 2015.

The US newspaper obtained a confidential

Office of Congressional Ethics

report claiming that three former top aides to US President Barack Obama appeared as speakers at the May 2013 event, titled “U.S.-Azerbaijan Convention: Vision for the Future.”

Lawmakers and their staff members allegedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of travel expenses, silk scarves, crystal tea sets and Azerbaijani rugs valued at $2,500 to $10,000, according to the ethics report. Airfare for the lawmakers and some of their spouses cost $112,899, travel invoices reportedly show.

SOCAR also allegedly funneled $750,000 through US nonprofit corporations, who filed false statements with Congress claiming that they were sponsoring the event, according to the same report provided

The Washington Post


Meanwhile, SOCAR blamed the nonprofits for not filing the proper disclosures.

“At no time did SOCAR hide from the attendees of the conference our involvement,” SOCAR’s statement read. “SOCAR has never been under investigation in this matter because the responsibility for disclosing SOCAR’s financial support for the conference fell to those who were the trip’s sponsors.

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