Investigation into cash-for-votes allegations focused on the Republic of Azerbaijan and concluded several former members of the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly had breached a code of conduct.

According to an internal inquiry,  several members of the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly broke the body’s rules on ethics and are “strongly suspected” of corruption.

The report, released on Sunday, ends a 10-month investigation into cash-for-votes allegations focused on the Republic of Azerbaijan, which have rocked the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe.

The council, one of Europe’s oldest human rights organisations, was created in 1949 to safeguard democracy and the rule of law, it long predates the European Union and has 47 member states. Its parliamentary assembly (Pace) is composed of politicians from member countries’ national parliaments.

Republic of Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe in 2001.

Pace set up the inquiry last year to investigate charges that former and current members had voted to soften criticism of Republic of Azerbaijan’s government, in exchange for cash and luxury gifts.

In a damning verdict on the former Pace president Pedro Agramunt, the inquiry concluded there were strong suspicions he had colluded in “corruptive activities” to gain a key position leading the parliament’s centre-right group. 

The report also names former Italian deputy, Luca Volontè, as suspected of “activities of a corruptive nature”.

Italian police are investigating Volontè for corruption in relation to € 2.39 million he is accused of taking in bribes from Republic of Azerbaijan.