Qatargate: the European Parliament wants to lift the immunity of the deputies under investigation
The credibility of the European Parliament is damaged by a case of corruption linked to Qatar.
The European Parliament has announced that it has launched an emergency procedure, at the request of the Belgian judicial authorities, to lift the immunity of two MEPs in the context of x27;a corruption investigation involving Qatar.
The two elected officials concerned are the Italian Andrea Cozzolino and the Belgian Marc Tarabella, both belonging to the S&D group (Social Democrats), we learned from sources familiar with the matter.
Both are targeted as part of the investigation which led Belgian investigators to arrest the vice-president of the institution, the Greek socialist MEP Eva Kaili, on December 9.< /p>
The latter's companion, the Italian Francesco Giorgi, who is also Mr. Cozzolino's parliamentary assistant, the former Italian socialist MEP Pier-Antonio Panzeri as well as an official of the #x27;NGO, Niccolo Figa-Talamanca, were also among those arrested.
Greek elected Eva Kaili is in pre-trial detention.
These four personalities have been charged with membership in a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption, in a scandal that has caused shock waves in the European Parliament and tensions between Qatar and the EU.
Ms Kaili did not benefit from her parliamentary immunity, as the offense was found to be in flagrante delicto, with bags of banknotes discovered in her apartment. She was stripped of her title of Vice-President of the European Parliament on December 13 by an almost unanimous vote of MEPs.
In Belgium, the survey gave 20 searches took place between December 9 and 12, including within the European Parliament. The home of Marc Tarabella had been the subject of a search on December 10 in this context, according to a judicial source.
The Belgian judicial authorities have requested the lifting of the immunity of MEP Marc Tarabella.
In total, Belgian investigators got their hands on 1.5 million euros in cash, according to a judicial source, seized from the homes of Mr. Panzeri and Ms. Kaili, as well as in a suitcase carried by her father.
Responding to a request from the Belgian judicial authorities, I launched an urgent procedure to lift the immunity of two members of Parliament. There will be no impunity, absolutely none, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola tweeted on Monday.
“Officials will find this Parliament on the side of the law. Corruption cannot pay and we will do everything to fight it. »
— Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament
Ms Metsola will formally communicate this request to MEPs at their next plenary session on 16 January in Strasbourg.
The Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) will then have to examine it, behind closed doors, and pronounce a proposal for a decision, which will be the subject of ;a vote of all MEPs in plenary.
The President of Parliament has asked all services and committees to give priority to this procedure, with a view to its conclusion on February 13, states the press release.
As of December 13, the Belgian Socialist Party had decided to suspend Marc Tarabella from his membership. And on December 16, the Italian Democratic Party announced that it would suspend Andrea Cozzolino from its membership register as a preventive measure, until the closure of the ongoing investigations into the Qatargate scandal, so as to protect the image of the gone.