Swiss company extorts money from Azerbaijan in exchange for stopping illegal activity in Karabakh

Mon 07 August 2017 12:02 GMT | 16:02 Local Time

Text size: bigger smaller

As is known, any economic activity in the occupied Azerbaijani lands is prohibited both by international law and by Azerbaijani legislation.

Companies found to be involved in such activities are included in the "black list" of the country's Foreign Ministry.

However, official Baku warns these companies beforehand that their activities are illegal. And then, depending on the further actions of these companies - whether they ignore the warnings or realize their guilt, end their activity and apologize for violating the sovereignty of Azerbaijan - Baku decides whether to include them in the "blacklist" or not.

The same happened to Swiss Comfone, to which official Baku expressed its position in connection with its illegal activities in Nagorno-Karabakh, reports citing diplomatic sources. 

However, notwithstanding the protests of the Azerbaijani side, both official and expressed through social networks, the company continues its illegal economic activities in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, cooperating with the company belonging to the occupation regime of Armenians -Karabakh Telecom.

In response to complaints about illegality of their activities, sources in Comfone said that cooperation with Karabakh Telecom brings it an annual profit of 300,000 Swiss francs. The company also said that it can stop working with Karabakh Telecom, only if it receives appropriate compensation. Simply put, Comfone extorts money from Azerbaijan to stop its illegal activities in Karabakh. So it is the first time that Azerbaijan has faced such an unprecedented arrogance.

Over the years, official Baku has repeatedly sought the cessation of the activities of foreign companies in Nagorno-Karabakh. In most cases especially after the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan interfered into the matter, foreign companies stopped their activities in Nagorno-Karabakh and then apologized saying they were misled by Armenian side. 

However, Comfone seems not to care. It openly admitted violating the international law and the requirements of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU is a specialized body of the United Nations), the interference with the telecommunications space of Azerbaijan and illegal money making in the conflict zone, that is, the illegal income. Moreover, it transfers these illegitimate funds to Switzerland, where it legalizes them through Swiss banks.

This continuing illegal activity grossly violates the ITU Regulation and Convention (Geneva, 1992), as well as the recommendations of this organization on the plan for international telecommunications numbers.

In addition, such activities create serious obstacles to Azerbaijan's regulation of the telecommunications system within its internationally recognized borders, its independent sovereign right to use numbering resources, provision of telecommunication integrity and the use of radio frequencies.

Here technical explanations may be required. The International Telecommunication Union provides countries with codes for international calls. For example, the code of Azerbaijan is +994, the code of Armenia is +374. The latter, having entered its code in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, provides access to telephone calls there.
And in this issue violating the international law, Comfone, like some other mobile operators, is cooperating with Karabakh telekom.

The Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union has recently voiced his attitude to this issue. He noted that the ITU member countries, in accordance with their obligations, have to respect the basic principles stipulated in the legal documents of the Union, especially the sovereign right of all countries to regulate telecommunication rules within their internationally recognized borders. In addition, the position published in the ITU bulletin emphasizes the importance of taking into account the relevant decisions of the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council resolutions on the Karabakh conflict.

But Comfone, apparently, decided to ignore all of the above and continue the "glorious tradition" of some other Swiss companies in violation of not only the international law, but also the business ethics, and corporate social responsibility.

Swiss-style laundering of Nazi money

History well remembers that despite Switzerland’s neutrality since 1815, Swiss banks and companies were the place of secret storage of money derived from conflicts. Everyone is well aware of the presence of German Nazis’ accounts in Swiss banks during the Second World War, as well as cases of misappropriation of Jewish accounts there. In addition, right up to the end of the war, it was Switzerland that provided for the laundering of hundreds of millions of dollars of assets and gold stolen from the central banks of Germany-occupied European countries. 

Apparently, the phrase "Money does not smell” has become a slogan for Swiss companies.

And this, by the way, is proven by the activities of another company headed by Swiss citizen Vartan Sermakes, which is engaged in looting of natural resources in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and illegal storage of revenues in Swiss banks. The Prosecutor's Office of Azerbaijan has initiated a criminal case against him, but the country continues to remain silent as to how dirty money goes to Switzerland.

Here it is worth noting one more point. Mobile operator Comfone, carrying out illegal economic activity in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, along with receiving income from the conflict zone, has automatically turned into an economic partner of the occupation regime.

But in resolving international conflicts Switzerland acts as an unbiased party and mediator, demonstrating its objectivity, including in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. And turning a blind eye to the fact that its individuals and legal entities earn money in a conflict zone does not dovetail with the peacekeeping position of the country, which authored the international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions.

By the way, according to the above-mentioned Geneva Conventions, any economic activity in the occupied territories is prohibited, and the Swiss government spends a lot of money promoting the ideas of these conventions in the world, which, as it turned out, are trampled on by the Swiss companies.





Most read articles

More from Karabakh

In The Region

Editor Picks

Azerbaijan Cuisine

Explore the food of Azerbaijan - from sherbet to succulent kebab, from baklava to fragrant pilaff

Follow us

Find us on Facebook

Real estate