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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The Council of Europe (CoE) is to investigate possible corruption in its assembly in response to reports that Azerbaijani members had bribed others to influence votes on human rights there.

The council voted down a resolution in January 2013 that would have condemned Azerbaijan for its policy on political prisoners.

Transparency International and other anti-corruption groups later urged an inquiry "into the behaviour of members of the Azerbaijani delegation".

The council said on Friday the assembly had decided to set up an independent investigation "to shed light on hidden practices that favour corruption".

The head of Azerbaijan's delegation, Elkhan Suleymanov, has on several occasions denied any wrongdoing by his members.

The Strasbourg-based council promotes human rights and democracy in its 47 member states, which include nearly all the European nations from Iceland to Russia.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Reuters