The five people arrested this Friday for the possible case of corruption, criminal organization and money laundering in the European Parliament, tied to Qatarare declaring this Saturday before the Belgian judge handling the case, a spokesperson for the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office. After taking their statement, the judge, Michel Claisewill decide tomorrow whether or not to release them.
Is about one of the vice-presidents of the European Parliamentthe Greek social democrat eva kalliof his partner, as well as of the Italian former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri (also a Social Democrat), of the recently elected president of the International Trade Union Confederation, Luva Visentini and of a lobbyistwhose identity has not been disclosed.
The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, said today in a Twitter message 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.
The Belgian judicial police carried out 16 house searches this Friday and arrested these five people, after having carried out an investigation for several months in which they suspected that 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 significant gifts to third parties with an important political or strategic position within the European Parliament,” the federal prosecutor’s office said yesterday. In fact, the judicial police confiscated yesterday during the searches computer equipment, mobile phones and about 600,000 euros in cash.
According to what the Belgian newspapers said yesterday le soir Y Knackhalf a million euros in cash were found at the home of Panzeri, who is now president of the Fight Impunity associationdedicated to fighting impunity for serious violations of human rights or crimes against humanity.
The Socialists and Democrats of the European Parliament decided yesterday to suspend Kalli from the parliamentary group, showed their “full” willingness to cooperate with the judicial authorities and asked to paralyze any file and vote related to the Gulf States until “until the competent authorities provide relevant information and clarifications”.
As for Antonio Panzeri, this has been hissuspended by his party Articolo 1, who has expressed his “bewilderment” over the facts charged. The left-wing formation also stated in a statement its “trust in the judicial authorities” and its desire that Panzeri “can prove his innocence in a matter that is totally incompatible with his history and his political commitment.”
In addition, they have also been put into preventive arrest his wife and daughter, Maria Colleoni and Silvia Panzeri, who apparently were aware of and enjoyed the illegal benefits that the politician obtained. Both testified this Saturday before the Court of Brescia (north), which must determine whether to maintain preventive detention or release them.
Pier Antonio Panzeri, 67, originally from the province of Bergamo (north) has a long career in Italian trade unionism until he was elected a member of the European Parliament in 2004, a position he held until 2019 with the Social Democrats.