A series of videos depicting graft inside the halls of power in Azerbaijan could have serious implications for one of the country’s most influential officials, 74-year-old presidential Chief of Staff Ramiz Mehdiyev.
The scandal, known as Gulargate, erupted last September when the former rector of Baku’s now-closed International University, Elshad Abdullayev, published an online video showing himself discussing the $2-million price tag for a seat in parliament with Gular Ahmadova, an MP for the governing Yeni Azerbaijan Party and her assistant, Sevinj Babayeva. Abdullayev is said to have secretly recorded the video in 2005. It appears to implicate Ahmadova in the sale of parliamentary seats, and seems to identify Ramiz Mehdiyev as a beneficiary.
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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance reporter based in Baku.