Qatargate: Former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri will collaborate with justice

Spread the love

Qatargate: Former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri will collaborate with justice

Ex-MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, 67, was arrested in Brussels on December 9 for membership of a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption.

Spectacular rebound in Qatargate: the former Italian MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, a key suspect currently imprisoned, agreed on Tuesday to collaborate with Belgian justice and to deliver what he knows about this alleged corruption scandal for the benefit from Qatar.

At the end of this agreement, the former socialist elected representative undertakes to inform the investigators of the modus operandi of the fraud, the financial arrangements with third States, the identity of the people he admits having corrupt and the possible implication of people not yet known in the file.

His statements must be substantial, revealing, sincere and complete, specified the federal parquet floor.< /p>

In exchange for this cooperation, the former MP, who in 2019 became leader of the Brussels-based NGO Fight Impunity, will be sentenced to a limited prison sentence .

His lawyer, Me Laurent Kennes, told AFP that this sentence negotiated with the courts would not exceed one year. A five-year sentence will be imposed, but with a suspended sentence for the part exceeding one year. This means that he will undergo a year in detention, part of which under an electronic bracelet, said Me Kennes.

He wants to unpack, he wants to see the end of the tunnel, added the lawyer on the French-language channel RTBF, pointing out that Mr. Panzeri had admitted having been one of the leaders of a criminal organization […] in connection with Qatar and Morocco.

According to the press, Morocco used the Italian official as an entry point to support its interests in the European Parliament. But like Qatar, the Cherifian kingdom has strongly contested these allegations of corruption.

The draft agreement between Mr. Panzeri and the federal prosecutor must still be validated by the chamber of the council, jurisdiction of control of the instruction in Belgium.

Pier Antonio Panzeri, 67, was arrested in Brussels on December 9, the day of a wave of searches and arrests at the end of which a vice-president of the European Parliament, the elected Greek socialist Eva Kaili, also found herself behind bars.

Greek MP Eva Kaili was Vice-President of the European Parliament.

Same scenario for parliamentary assistant Francesco Giorgi , companion of Ms. Kaili, and for Niccolo Figa-Talamanca, another NGO official, also Italian.

These four suspects, imprisoned for more than five weeks, have all were charged with membership in a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption.

They are suspected of having collected large sums of cash to influence in favor of foreign powers political declarations and decision-making within the only elected institution of the EU, in particular concerning the labor rights in Qatar.

Mr. Panzeri is a central figure in the investigation. During the December 9 crackdown, Belgian police discovered 600,000 euros (CA$867,000) in cash at his Brussels home, according to a judicial source.

He will now having to explain the origin of these funds and the precise object of the corruption.

On Tuesday, MaximTöller, lawyer for Marc Tarabella, again hotly disputed that this Belgian socialist MEP – whose justice has requested the lifting of immunity – can be one of the corrupt.

Whether gift or money, Mr. Tarabella received nothing, argued the lawyer to AFP, saying that Mr. Panzeri's statements to investigators, quoted by the newspaper L'Écho, according to which he paid the Belgian between 120,000 and 140,000 euros [CA$173,000 to 202,000], were false.

The Mr. Tarabella's home in the Liège region (east) had been searched on December 10 as part of the investigation, but no cash had been discovered.

After Serbian player agent Dejan Veljkovic, in a vast corruption scandal in Belgian football, Pier Antonio Panzeri is the second to benefit from a 2018 Belgian law on the status of repentant, modeled on the Italian antimafia practice.

In addition to the prison sentence, the memorandum provides for a fine (80,000 euros according to his lawyer, the equivalent of C$116,000) and forfeiture of all benefits s assets acquired, currently valued at one million euros [CA$1.4 million].

Previous Article
Next Article