FBI agents searched the Texas home of the federal representative Henry Cuellar on Wednesday while conducting what an agency spokeswoman called “police activity authorized by a court”.
The motive and scope of the search were not immediately known. But a reporter from The Monitor of McAllen, Texas, who was the first to report the operation, reported from the scene that more than a dozen federal agents were seen going in and out of Cuellar’s home with suitcases and other items.
He would be part of a wide-ranging federal investigation involving Azerbaijan and several American businessmen, said to ABC News a source familiar with the matter. A federal grand jury in Washington is investigating the matter, but it is unclear if Cuellar is the target of the investigation.
Cuellar’s office released a brief statement that did not directly address the location or nature of the search: “Congressman Cuellar will fully cooperate in any investigation. He is committed to ensuring that justice and the law are upheld.”
Later, the same congressman made a statement in a video: “There is an ongoing investigation that will show there was no wrongdoing on my part. As a lawyer, I know firsthand that the legal system is a pillar of our democracy.”
Since 2004, Cuellar has represented a district that stretches from the US border with Mexico near McAllen to Laredo, and north to the eastern outskirts of San Antonio. The moderate Democrat has a seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
In recent years he has served as co-chair of the Azerbaijan Congressional Caucus and has met on several occasions with Azerbaijani officials, including its ambassador, Elin Suleymanov.
“Azerbaijan’s model of influence, in (Washington) DC and in capitals around the world, is bribery and corruption. Unshared values. Not common interests. No cultural connections.” ANCA also tweeted.
According to this Armenian organization in the US, “It is very likely that the US Attorney General has approved an FBI raid related to the Azerbaijan corruption investigation.”
“The FBI investigation into Cuellar is the tip of the iceberg. The beginning of overdue accountability for the great Azerbaijani corruption conspiracy throughout Washington DC.”
The truth is Cuéllar’s connections with Azerbaijan would appear to be extensive.
A US government trip was made to Azerbaijan in 2013, according to reports The Intercept for the first time on Friday night. Although the congressman was not on that particular trip, one of his employees was, according to reports.
And just four months earlier, he and his wife had embarked on a trip to Turkey and Azerbaijan and met with top leaders. to promote economic and geopolitical cooperation between the countries and the US. A month later, he spoke in the House and praised Azerbaijan.
“Here is something that the Azeris have in common with the Texans: they are a nation rich in oil production”, Cuellar said on that occasion.
“Like we do in Texas, the Azeris have a long history with oil. Today, they supply the pipeline that moves Caspian oil west through Turkey, without passing the oil supply through Russia or Iran. That greatly increases the safety of the pipeline.”
What’s more, he signed a letter last April advocating aid for the country after a deadly conflict with neighboring Armenia.
Armenia and Azerbaijan staged a confrontation in 2020 for control of Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory with a majority Armenian population that has been the focus of conflict since it decided to separate in 1988 from the Azerbaijan region integrated into the Soviet Union.
Hostilities between the two nations lasted for six weeks and left thousands dead. They finally ceased when the two countries reached an agreement on a ceasefire. mediated by Russia, allowing Russian peacekeepers to settle in Nagorno-Karabakh for a period of five years.
However, violence between the two sides erupts periodically despite the ceasefire of November 2020.
Armenia reported on Wednesday, January 12, the death of a third soldier in armed clashes with Azerbaijan on the border, the worst since the beginning of the year, which also left one dead on the Azerbaijani side.
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