Corruption scandal: Belgian justice requests the lifting of the immunities of two MEPs, including Marc Tarabella

Corruption scandal: Belgian justice requests the lifting of the immunities of two MEPs, including Marc Tarabella

Belgian justice has asked the presidency of the European Parliament to lift the immunities of MEPs Andrea Cozzolino and Marc Tarabella.

Lhe Belgian justice has asked the Presidency of the European Parliament (EP) to lift the immunities of MEPs Andrea Cozzolino (Italy, Democratic Party) and Marc Tarabella (Belgium, Socialist Party), learned The evening and Thing. The European Parliament confirms this Monday in a press release that President Roberta Metsola “has launched an emergency procedure for the lifting of the immunity of two members of the European Parliament, following a request from the Belgian judicial authorities”, without specifying the identity of the two elected officials concerned by the investigations of the federal prosecutor’s office concerning the corruption scandal by Qatar and Morocco which has been in the news for three weeks. According to several concordant sources, it is indeed the Italian MEP and his Belgian counterpart.


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“The first procedural steps have been taken and the President will announce the request in plenary at the earliest possible opportunity on January 16. The request will then be forwarded to the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) for a proposal for a decision”, specifies the European Parliament.

“From the first moment, the European Parliament did everything in its power to help with the investigations and we will continue to ensure that there is no impunity. Officials will find this Parliament on the side of the law. Corruption cannot pay and we will do everything to fight it”, declared the Maltese president of the European hemicycle.

Contacted, the federal prosecutor’s office confirms the request for the waiver of immunity of two MEPs, but does not wish to make any further comment.

Marc Tarabella already searched

Marc Tarabella had already been searched at his home in Anthisnes in this case: it was on Saturday December 10, the day after Judge Michel Claise’s spectacular dragnet with the Central Office for the Suppression of Corruption (OCRC). A crackdown which had led to the arrest of 6 people including a vice-president of the European Parliament, the Greek Eva Kaili, her companion Francesco Giorgi or even the former Italian MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri.

Large sums of cash (1.5 million in all) had been discovered by investigators in the possession of Panzeri and the Giorgi-Kaili couple. All three are among those charged and imprisoned in this case. The parliamentary immunity of Eva Kaili had been annihilated on December 9 due to a flagrante delicto (the MEP’s father had hidden in a hotel in Brussels with a suitcase filled with cash).

The mayor of Anthisnes had received a visit from the judge, in the presence of Roberta Metsola, the day after the dragnet. It appeared that two defendants, MM. Panzeri and Giorgi, have leveled accusations (or at the very least suspicions) on the person of Marc Tarabella. The person concerned strongly maintains that he has never received gifts from Qatar, a state whose labor reforms he had praised in the run-up to the World Cup.

“Since the start of this case, Marc Tarabella has repeated that he is at the disposal of justice and has even asked to be heard quickly in order to be able to defend himself”, recalls his counsel, Me Maxim Töller, in a message to the Belga agency. “He also said that he would not hide behind his parliamentary immunity, having nothing to reproach himself for. He therefore supports his waiver of immunity if it is requested, ”according to the lawyer.

“The PS has suspended Marc Tarabella from his membership (…) until the end of the investigation”, reacts on Monday the Boulevard de l’Empereur. “For now, he is no longer PS. If it turns out that reprehensible acts have been committed, the exclusion will be immediate and automatic, ”concludes the party of Marc Tarabella.

Andrea Cozzolino at the heart of the questions

Corruption scandal: Belgian justice requests the lifting of the immunities of two MEPs, including Marc Tarabella
Andrea Cozzolino (center), flanked by two major players in the anti-corruption investigation: Moroccan Ambassador Abderrahim Atmoun and Pier Antonio Panzeri. In 2018, in the corridors of parliament in Strasbourg. -DR



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