Turkish lawyer who accused India of ‘war crimes in Kashmir’ hires firm linked to Qatargate suspects: report

A prominent Turkish human rights legal adviser who accused India of “war crimes against Kashmiri Muslims” admitted paying one of the suspects in the European Parliament corruption scandal for “ethical lobbying services”, including resolutions condemning war crimes in Syria and Yemen, Financial Times reported.

Hakan Camuz’s UK-based law firm Stoke White filed lawsuits against key Indian officials last year, accusing them of “war crimes against Kashmiri Muslims”.

Following an investigation into alleged “war crimes in Jammu and Kashmir,” the company filed a “legal appeal” with the London Metropolitan Police against the Indian army chief and home minister.

Hakan Camuz claimed that two of his groups have “consulting contracts” with a company related to Francesco Giorgi, the assistant to Pier Antonio Panzeri, a former MEP at the center of the corruption investigation, for what he calls “parliamentary services”. held.

Camuz told the Financial Times he only spoke to Giorgi and he believes the company is authentic.

Camuz, who is not under investigation or accused of wrongdoing, explained that the “services” agreed included coordinating meetings with other MPs, public events in Brussels, parliamentary inquiries and raising EU funds for his charitable projects.

According to evidence from the investigation reviewed by the Financial Times, Giorgi admitted to helping his boss use a network of companies to conceal payments from foreign governments, including Qatar and Morocco.

Camuz, a lawyer with ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office, said he was “shocked and outraged” by the case and denied any knowledge of wrongdoing by Giorgi and Panzeri.

“The payments were made in exchange for petitions condemning war crimes in Syria and protecting refugees,” the Financial Times reported, citing Camuz, a lawyer with close ties to Turkish President Erdogan’s government.

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Camuz said Giorgi has also pledged to help introduce resolutions condemning war crimes in Yemen. “Sadly, the results were pretty poor compared to what we discussed,” he added.

Last week, Italian prosecutors expanded the Belgium-led probe into possible corruption by launching a new money laundering investigation. According to documents available to the Financial Times, prosecutors are looking into payments of around €300,000 made through a consulting firm set up by Panzeri’s accountants into Italian bank accounts held by Intesa Sanpaolo.

According to a transcript of Giorgi’s testimony to investigators, Panzeri and Giorgi’s accomplices in Italy allegedly set up the Milan-based company Equality Consultancy Srl as a vehicle for payments for their lobbying work.

According to the Financial Times, the company went into liquidation in late 2020 and is scheduled to shut down in June 2021. According to payment records seen by the FT, two of the three companies that paid the consultant a total of €75,000 are affiliated with Camuz.

Belgian police have charged Giorgi with corruption, money laundering and involvement in a criminal organization. After working with authorities, he is now free with an electronic tag.

According to the Financial Times, Giorgi’s employer Panzeri, who has been jailed since December, agreed to a plea deal with Belgian authorities in February after admitting he received up to €2.6 million in payments between 2018 from the governments of Qatar, Morocco and Mauritania to have received and 2022.

(With contributions from agencies)