Tiny Kox, the Dutch head of a venerable watchdog on European democracy, has denied being a Kremlin fixer after one Russian spy described him as a high contact in leaked recordsdata.
“Such claims had been false and unfounded”, Kox’s personal workplace informed EUobserver by electronic mail on Wednesday (14 September).
The 69-year outdated left-wing politician turned president of the Parliamentary Meeting of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg, France, in January 2022.
Just like the EU, the Council of Europe [CoE] was created to forge European unity after World Battle 2, however has 46 member states.
PACE expelled Russia in March and Kox loudly condemned its invasion of Ukraine.
However in accordance with Russian intelligence stories leaked to File Middle, a London-based NGO, Kox was seen as a darling of Kremlin pursuits earlier than his elevation to PACE’s high job.
Within the Russian recordsdata, Valery Levitsky, an officer in Russia’s GRU military-intelligence service, describes Kox as somebody who may “make it occur” for the Kremlin in Strasbourg.
In a doc from June 2017, Levitsky speaks of Kox’s potential assistance on delaying the ejection of Pedro Agramunt, a pro-Kremlin Spanish former PACE president, from workplace.
In a report from December 2017, Levitsky additionally says that “in accordance with Tiny [Kox], all the things needs to be completed in our favour by April,” talking within the context of a lobbying marketing campaign to revive Russia’s voting rights in PACE.
PACE suspended Russia’s rights in 2014 after it first invaded Ukraine. Its voting rights had been finally restored in 2019 earlier than its PACE expulsion this yr.
Levitsky was Russia’s consul normal in Strasbourg earlier than France expelled him in 2018 on grounds of espionage.
He was already enlisted within the Russian armed forces [of which the GRU is part] when he was Russia’s deputy consul in Marseilles, France, between 1995 and 1998, a File Middle doc exhibits.
Levitsky was additionally a graduate of the Pushkin Larger Faculty of Air Protection Radioelectronics and the Navy Diplomatic Academy in Moscow earlier than making France his second house.
The GRU’s man lobbied for Kox to get the PACE high put up through go-betweens in Strasbourg even after he’d been made persona non grata by France, File Middle’s paperwork revealed.
In a single leaked report in 2021, Levitsky described Kox as a shoe-in for the PACE presidency, as an example.
“The rapporteur [Kox], the long run president of the meeting, is quietly placing it [a Russian wish] on his listing of priorities to vary the place. He can not write it in black and white,” Levitsky mentioned of Kox, referring to Kox’s March 2021 PACE report entitled ‘The Meeting’s Imaginative and prescient for CoE Strategic Priorities’.
Different senior PACE faces had been additionally a part of Levitsky’s ring, File Middle’s leaked recordsdata point out.
These embrace Agramunt, who publicly disgraced himself by visiting Russia’s bloodthirsty ally, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, in 2017. Additionally they embrace Bruno Aller (a French ex-PACE secretary normal) and René van der Linden (a Dutch former PACE president).
EUobserver requested Kox’s workplace detailed questions arising from File Middle’s recordsdata, akin to: “Has he [Kox] ever heard of, met, or corresponded with Mr Valery Levitsky and what was their relationship?”.
“In December 2017, did Mr Tiny Kox advocate restoring Russia’s voting rights in PACE or talk about the concept at a dinner with Mr van der Linden?”, we additionally requested.
Kox’s workplace mentioned he’d choose to reply in-depth questions in a face-to-face interview in future.
Kox is well-known in The Hague after being secretary normal and senate speaker of the Socialist Social gathering, a minor faction within the Dutch parliament.
He was additionally a member of the Dutch parliamentary meeting to Nato in Brussels from 2003 to 2010.
Levitsky is now a deputy head of the Russian parliament’s worldwide cooperation division in Moscow.
France kicked out an extra 35 Russian diplomats on grounds of spying in April as a part of a wider EU response to the Ukraine conflict.
Russia’s everlasting illustration to PACE used to have some 80 workers earlier than it was booted out of the meeting in March, however PACE believes most have now gone house.
The File Middle is funded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian oil baron-turned-dissident, and hunts Russian espionage in Europe.