The plenary of European Parliament approved this Thursday suspension of immunity of two legislators so that they can be interrogated by the justice of Belgium in relation to the alleged scandal corruption in benefit of Qatar and Morocco.
The parliament suspended the privileges of the Belgian Marc Tarabella and from Italian Andrea Cozzolino.
The two Social Democratic legislators deny involvement in illegal acts, although they were separated from their responsibilities in their political bloc.
Tarabella was present this Thursday at the session to vote in favor of the suspension of his own parliamentary immunity.
“I am happy with the lifting of my parliamentary immunity. I want to remind everyone that I am innocent in this case,” the Belgian legislator told reporters at the end of the vote, which was held by raised hands.
“By priority, I will give justice the information on the questions that [los investigadores] want to make me I want justice to do its job, ”she added.
The reports on the suspension of the immunity of the two MEPs were prepared by the French legislator Manon Aubrywho said to AFP that “it’s time for politicians to do their job.”
The case broke out in full force in December and led to the arrest of four people, including the influential Greek MEP eva kailiwho held one of the vice-presidencies of the European Parliament.
All these people are accused by the Belgian courts of participating in a network of corruption and money laundering to defend the interests of Qatar, although according to various complaints it would also benefit Morocco.
One of the four arrested, the former Italian MEP Pier Antonio Panzerisigned a confidential cooperation agreement with the Belgian judicial authorities, by which he promised to review all the information he has on how the corruption network worked.
In one of his first testimonies to justice, Panzeri claimed to have transferred cash to Tarabella, an action that the Belgian legislator emphatically denies.
A Tarabella home was searched in December, but no cash was found. The legislator denies having received “money or gifts” in exchange for his “political opinions”.
Meanwhile, Cozzolino was until a month ago president of the European Parliament delegation for relations with the Maghreb.
According to a parliamentary report prepared as a result of the possible suspension of his immunity, Cozzolino “is suspected of having participated in an agreement with other people that provided for collaboration to protect the interests of foreign States before the European Parliament.”
Thus, it would have acted to prevent the adoption of resolutions that could harm the interests of those countries.
The investigation into this case also led to the arrest of Kaili’s partner, Francesco Giorgioand a Panzeri auxiliary, Niccolo Figa-Talamanca.
In the operations carried out by the Belgian justice system, suitcases full of cash were found, worth approximately one and a half million euros.
The magnitude of the scandal made the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsolawill announce a profound process of reform of the control procedures over the activities of the Eurolegislators, in order to obtain more transparency.
(With information from AFP)
Qatargate: Investigation into two more EU lawmakers accused of corruption progresses
Qatargate: One of the implicated MEPs denounced the “interested confessions” of a key suspect
Qatargate: the European Parliament dismissed the vice president accused of corruption and money laundering