The Belgian judge who has taken on the case of the alleged corruption scandal in the European Parliament linked to Qatar has charged this Sunday four of the six detainees for the crimes of participation in a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office has reported from Belgium. Among the defendants, who must remain under arrest, is the vice president of the European Parliament Eva Kaili.
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The other three people are Kaili’s colleague and adviser in the European Parliament, Francesco Giorgi, the former Italian Social Democrat MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri and a Brussels lobbyist arrested on Friday whose identity has not been disclosed. The judge has decided to release the other two detainees, according to the Belgian media Le Soir and Knack: one of them is precisely Kalli’s father, whom the police arrested on Friday while trying to escape with 600,000 euros in a bag; the other is the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, Luca Visentini.
Meanwhile, a court in the northern Italian city of Brescia has ordered the arrest of Maria Colleoni and Silvia Panzeri, wife and daughter respectively of the former Social Democrat MEP, bringing the alleged corruption and money laundering scandal in the European Parliament, one of the majors in recent years, has crossed the borders of Belgium.
The Public Ministry has also announced that last night the address of a second MEP was searched, who according to the Belgian media le soir Y Knack it would be the Belgian social democrat Marc Tarabella. According to Le Soir, the investigators searched the house under the supervision of the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, and seized computer equipment. For now, Tarabella is still at large.
Second MEP involved
Tarabella would be the second MEP involved in the case, together with the vice president of the European Parliament, Eva Kaili, whom the president of the institution, Roberta Metsola, suspended last Saturday from her duties in office. “In light of the ongoing judicial investigations by the Belgian authorities, President Metsola has decided to suspend with immediate effect all powers, duties and tasks that were delegated to Eva Kaili in her capacity as Vice President of the European Parliament,” it said. a spokesperson for Metsola told EFE.
The group of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, to which Kaili belongs, had already decided on Friday to suspend the Greek MEP in that formation. In addition, she expressed her “full” willingness to cooperate with the judicial authorities and asked to stop any file and vote related to the Gulf States until “until the competent authorities provide relevant information and clarifications.”
Metsola affirmed last Saturday in a message from Twitter that the institution “stands firm against corruption”, and assured that it will cooperate “fully with the relevant police and judicial authorities.” “We will do everything possible to help justice,” Metsola said.
Belgian judicial police carried out 16 house searches on Friday and arrested five people, after carrying out a months-long investigation into which they suspected Qatar has tried to influence the economic and political decisions of the European Parliament.
He would have done so “by paying substantial amounts of money and offering important gifts to third parties with an important political or strategic position within the European Parliament,” the federal prosecutor’s office said on Friday.
In fact, the judicial police confiscated computer equipment, mobile phones and some 600,000 euros in cash during the searches.
According to the Belgian newspapers Le Soir and Knack, half a million euros in cash was found at the home of Panzeri, who is now president of the Fight Impunity association, dedicated to fighting impunity for serious human rights violations or crimes against humanity. .
The case has already claimed its first political victim, with Metsola’s decision yesterday to suspend Kaili from her duties as an MEP, whom both the group of European Social Democrats and her Greek political party (PASOK) have removed.
The European People’s Party, the Social Democrats, the Liberals and the Greens will also call for a vote to be suspended this coming week on the liberalization of visas for Qatari citizens entering the Schengen zone.