A prominent Turkish human rights legal consultant who accused India of “war crimes against Kashmiri Muslims” admitted to paying one of the suspects in the European Parliament corruption scandal for “ethical lobbying services” according to media reports.
Hakan Camuz’s UK-based law firm Stoke White had last year filed lawsuits against key Indian officials, accusing them of “war crimes against Kashmiri Muslims”.
Following an investigation into alleged “war crimes in Jammu and Kashmir,” the firm filed a “legal appeal” with London’s Metropolitan Police against the Indian Army Chief and Home Minister.
Hakan Camuz alleged that two of his groups entered “consultancy contracts” with a company related to Francesco Giorgi, the assistant of Pier Antonio Panzeri, a former MEP at the centre of the corruption investigation, for what he felt were “parliamentary services”.
Camuz told media that he had only spoken with Giorgi and that he thought the company was authentic.
Camuz, who is not being investigated or accused of wrongdoing, stated that the agreed-upon “services” included coordinating meetings with other MEPs, public events in Brussels, parliamentary questions, and getting EU funds for his charitable projects.
According to evidence from the investigation, Giorgi admitted to assisting his boss in using a web of companies to mask 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 misconduct by Giorgi and Panzeri.
Last week, Italian prosecutors expanded the Belgian-led investigation into potential corruption by initiating a new money laundering investigation. Prosecutors are examining payments of around 300,000 euros made through a consultancy set up by Panzeri’s accountant into Italian bank accounts maintained at Intesa Sanpaolo.
According to a transcript of Giorgi’s statement 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 efforts.
The company was placed into liquidation at the end of 2020 and would be shut down in June 2021. Belgian police have charged Giorgi with corruption, money laundering, and involvement in a criminal organisation. After cooperating with authorities, he is now free with an electronic tag.
According to reports, Giorgi’s employer Panzeri, who has been imprisoned since December, agreed to a plea deal with Belgian authorities in February after admitting to receiving up to EUR 2.6 million in payments from the governments of Qatar, Morocco, and Mauritania between 2018 and 2022.
The Pakistan-Turkey Connection to Qatargate
Some years ago, reports indicated that Turkey and Pakistan had set up a special unit to carry out propaganda against India, especially on Jammu and Kashmir. Reporedly, this was a brainchild of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI. One instance of this concerted joint campaign became apparent in early 2021, when a UK-based firm filed a legal appeal in a UK court against India’s Home Minister and Army Chief for alleged war crimes in Jammu and Kashmir.
More recently, while the Qatargate scandal exposed the corruption of EU Parliamentarians by the Qatari regime involving bribe & money laundering of over €300,000, it is a lesser known fact that Hakan Camuz, a UK-based legal consultant of Turkish origin, was also indirectly involved in the scandal.
His firms, Stoke White (SW) and The Radiant Trust, paid Equality Consultancy, a company linked to #Qatargate suspects, ex-Member of European Parliament (MEP) Pier Antonio Panzeri and his assistant Francesco Giorgi, €75,000 for “ethical lobbying services.”
It’s the very same SW firm that had launched the attack against India in January 2021, accusing the Army of genocide in Kashmir based on an investigation by the Legal Forum for Oppressed Voices of Kashmir (LFOVK). LFOVK is another dubious entity allegedly run by a former Pakistani Judge Justice Ali Nawaz Chawhan and Advocate Nasir Qadri.
It was LFOVK which had started the Twitter trend “#arrestindianarmychief” crimes in Kashmir’ along with SW. The SW company, in a release, had then stated that it put up a “legal appeal” against the Indian Army chief, General M.M. Naravane and Home Minister Amit Shah to London’s Metropolitan Police and peddled the narrative of ‘war following an investigative report LFOVK by on “war crimes in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Nasir Qadri is the Founder and executive director of Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFK), earlier “Legal Forum for Oppressed Voices of Kashmir (LFOVK)”. He operates from Pakistan. Nasir has global connections and has visited Turkey frequently. Qadri has close links with the Jamaat-e- Islami and the ISPR, the Pakistan military‘s media wing.
Hakan Camuz already established connection to Turkey and his anti India and pro Pakistan lobbying efforts must be investigated as they appear to be a clear instance of how Pakistan and Turkey maybe conspiring against India, and even using European Parliamentarians, who now stand exposed and face corruption and bribery investigations.
Interestingly, the European Parliament sub committee on Human Rights took up the case of violations of human rights in Kashmir in 2019, while it was being headed by the very same EU parliamentarian Pier Antonio Panzeri, who was allegedly being bribed by Qatar, Morroco and other foreign powers at the same time.