Lobby for Azerbaijan: Bundestag imposes heavy fine on CDU members Strenz

For years, the CDU MP Karin Strenz kept secret that she received money from Azerbaijan through a lobbying firm. Now the Bundestag imposed after SPIEGEL information in addition to a reprimand a hefty fine.

The CDU deputy Karin Strenz has to pay a heavy fine to the Bundestag after the affair for their lobby activity for the authoritarian regime in Azerbaijan.

According to SPIEGEL information, the Bundestag presidium decided in confidential session to pay a fine of two months' diets. The fine is around 20,000 euros. Previously, the Bundestag Strenz had sharply reprimanded.

Strenz had received a total of between 14,000 and 30,000 euros from the lobby firm Line M-Trade in 2014 and 2015. The agency is led by the former CSU deputy Eduard Lintner, he stands in Berlin for the interests of the state of Azerbaijan and also confirmed that Line M-Trade is financed from Baku.

Strenz also noticed in Berlin and at the EU level, as it seemed inclined to the authoritarian regime in Baku. Strenz had already been given a lifelong home ban by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg for violating codes of conduct. A commission certified her a "persistent conflict of interest".

In 2015, the CDU politician was the only German member of the Council of Europe who voted against a demand for the release of political prisoners in Azerbaijan. She also took part in an election observation mission in Azerbaijan, but she ignored government grants. Strenz later said she was unaware that the money came from Azerbaijan.

Penalties as the hardest sanction

Nevertheless, the Bundestag reprimanded her for having to declare her income and lobby work for another state. By imposing the large fine, the Parliament clarifies that this is a deliberate and grave violation of the existing rules for Members, and obviously it wants to send a dissuasive signal to other politicians.

Basically, the Bundestag presidium can impose penalties of up to six monthly diets. Such fines are the hardest sanction.

The Baku government is not fussy about lobbying; a few years ago, at EU level, a whole group of MPs had been spotted illegally receiving money from the oil-rich state.

Strenz is in the Bundestag since 2009, she moved in as a direct candidate and sits, among others, in the defense committee. In addition to the mandate Strenz continues to work as an independent management consultant in the field of trade, logistics and cargo and real estate. In addition, she is chairwoman of the German-South Caucasian parliamentary group.

ref: spiegel