Newslatestworld.com – Due to the Qatari and Moroccan bribery scandals that are currently under investigation by Belgian authorities, the European Union Parliament on Thursday (February 2, 2023) lifted the immunity of two of its members.
Members of the European Parliament who supported removing the immunity enjoyed by Belgian politician Marc Tarabella and Italian politician Andrea Cozzolino showed their support by raising their hands during the vote.
The Associated Press reports that images from live television broadcasts show that Tarabella is in favor of lifting her own immunity from prosecution.
Both of these men voiced their disagreement with the scandal that was taking place, which allegedly involved officials from Qatar and Morocco offering them bribes in an effort to influence a decision made by the European Parliament.
The governments of Qatar and Morocco have both issued denials of the allegations, but the European Parliament has decided to halt the discussion of any and all cases involving Qatar.
According to a report that was compiled in support of Tarabella’s request to have her immunity removed, investigations conducted by Belgian authorities indicated that she was “possibly involved in acts of corruption related to interference by one or more foreign countries in order to influence debates and decisions in the European Parliament,” as stated in the report. Tarabella had requested that her immunity be removed.
A number of payments were allegedly made to Tarabella on multiple occasions, bringing the total amount to somewhere between 120,000 and 140,000 euros, according to testimony presented against her.
According to the investigative report compiled by Cozzolino, the Italian MP began participating in agreements with a number of other individuals beginning in 2019 to protect the interests of international nations within the European Parliament.
Among other things, this can be accomplished by voting against a resolution that will be approved by the European Parliament.
Both Tarabella and Cozzolino are members of the European Parliament’s Socialists and Democrats (S&D) political group, which is the second largest political group in the European Parliament and the one that has been accused of corruption the most frequently.
Their scandal became public knowledge at the beginning of December 2022, shortly after authorities conducted a series of searches in Brussels and Italy, during which they seized hundreds of thousands of euros in cash.
As a result of the scandal, four individuals were arrested and charged with bribery, money laundering, and membership in a criminal organization. They are S&D European Parliament member Eva Kaili, who served as vice president of parliament until the case was revealed; her lover and assistant MP Francesco Giorgi; former S&D MP Pier Antonio Panzeri; and Niccolo Figa-Talamanca, who is the head of a charitable organization. Eva Kaili served as vice president of parliament until the case was revealed.
Since then, Panzeri has reached an agreement with the prosecutors in Belgium to work with them as an informant. In exchange for a lighter sentence, he pledged to reveal the identities of those involved as well as the process by which the money was moved.
Source : AFP