Arrest of Belgian MEP amid corruption case

Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella has been charged and placed in pre-trial detention as part of an ongoing investigation in Belgium on suspicion of corruption in the European Parliament.

The 59-year-old socialist MP, whose parliamentary immunity was lifted on February 2, became the first Belgian figure involved in the scandal involving Qatar and Morocco.

The deputy was imprisoned on charges of “corruption”, “money laundering” and “participation in a criminal organization,” Erik van der Sigt, spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office, said.

Three others, including Greek MEP Eva Kaili, were imprisoned over the Dec. 9 scandal that sparked a spate of arrests in Brussels.

On that day, Belgian investigators seized about 1.5 million euros in cash in bags found, among others, in the homes of Caylee and Pierre Antonio Panziri, who are also in custody.

The latter, a former member of the European Parliament (2004-2019), who is the main suspect in the case, admitted in January last year to organizing fraud. A 60-year-old man who ran a non-governmental organization in Brussels reached an agreement with the prosecutor’s office that included one year in prison in exchange for accurate information about the fraud and the people involved.

The Belgian press reported that Panziri accused Tarabella in the presence of investigators after his arrest. He said he was paid “between 120,000 and 140,000 euros” in installments for helping with Qatar-related files.

Mark Tarabella again denied during the hearing that he had received money or gifts. His lawyer accused Panziri of “defamation” and emphasized that his client “will continue to fight for his innocence”.

Mark Tarabella’s house was searched, but no money was found on him.

Last November, a Belgian MP welcomed MEPs on the positive developments in Qatar regarding the issue of workers’ rights.

It was a major change in Tarabella’s speech after he called Qatar’s victory in hosting the 2022 World Cup a “wrong choice” in 2015 and criticized the lack of transparency of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA), according to the Belgian press. .

The authorities of Qatar and Morocco categorically denied the suspicions of corruption that arose around them.

Source: AFP

Related Stories

Leave a Reply