The Belgian police has carried out this Monday afternoon a register at the headquarters of the European Parliament in Brussels to seize data necessary for the investigation of an alleged case of corruption and money laundering by workers of this institution linked to Qatar.
“Since Friday, with the support of the security services of the European Parliament, the computer resources of ten parliamentary collaborators had been “frozen” in order to prevent data necessary for the investigation from disappearing. The record today in the European Parliament It was intended to collect this data,” the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.
The Prosecutor’s announcement coincided precisely with the celebration of a debate in plenary session of the institution, which is meeting this week in the French city of Strasbourg, on the case of alleged corruption, money laundering and criminal organization revealed last Friday by the Belgian judicial authorities, who had been investigating him for five months.
A total of 20 records
In its statement, the Belgian Public Ministry confirmed that a total of 20 searches have taken place since that day, 19 of them in private residences and offices, to which is added this afternoon in the premises of the European Parliament.
In them “several hundred thousand euros” have been confiscated, specifically, 600,000 euros at the home of one of the suspects“several hundred thousand euros in a suitcase in a hotel room in Brussels” and “about 150,000 euros in the apartment of a MEP”, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.
He confirmed that of the six people held for questioning, four have been arrested and will appear before the Council Chamber – a Belgian court – on Wednesday, including a member of the European Parliament.
Although the Prosecutor’s Office did not provide the data, it is known that the vice president of the European Parliament, Eva Kailí, is chargedfrom the Greek socialist party PASOK, as well as former MEP Antonio Panzeri, who currently runs the NGO Fight Impunity and whose wife and daughter were arrested on Friday in Italy in connection with the case.
600,000 euros in cash
According to the Belgian media, the 600,000 euros in cash would have been found at Panzeri’s house, while Kailí’s father would have been located leaving a hotel loaded with bags of money and at the house of the vice-president of the Eurochamber themselves they would have found the least 150,000 euros in cash and other valuables.
The Belgian Public Prosecutor’s Office further confirmed that a search of the home of a Belgian MEP was carried out over the weekend in the presence of the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola. It would be the Socialist MEP Marc Tarabellaaccording to the Belgian press.
Among the registered residences and offices would be those of some of his parliamentary assistants, as well as Belgian MEP also socialist Maria Arenawho today temporarily resigned from chairing the parliamentary subcommittee on Human Rights until “clarity” is obtained on the issue.
The Belgian Prosecutor’s Office highlighted the “excellent collaboration” with the security services of the European Parliament in the investigation and recalled that, in the case of a flagrant crime, the authorities can intervene, including with searches, although MEPs have immunity.