Qatargate: Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella accused of “corruption” and remanded in custody


The 59-year-old socialist MEP was remanded in custody after being charged with “corruption”, “money laundering” and “participation in a criminal organization”.

Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella, who is accused mainly of “corruption”, was remanded in custody today as part of the investigation into suspected involvement of Qatar and Morocco in the decisions of the European Parliament, the federal prosecutor’s office announced.

The 59-year-old Socialist MEP was remanded in custody after being charged with “corruption”, “money laundering” and “participation in a criminal organization”, Erik van der Sypt, a spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office, told AFP.

Three other people, including Greek MEP Eva Kaili, have already been jailed for this scandal that broke out on December 9 and led to a series of arrests in Brussels.

The main suspect in the case, Italian Antonio Panzeri, a former MEP, admitted in January that he orchestrated this fraud. He reached an agreement with prosecutors that provides for a prison sentence limited to one year, in exchange for accurate statements about the fraud and the persons involved.

According to the Belgian press, Pancheri implicated Tarabela before investigators in December shortly after his arrest. He claimed that he was paid “between 120,000 and 140,000 euros” for his help in Qatar-related matters.

Tarabella denied any wrongdoing and asked to testify to explain himself.

The Belgian judiciary had to wait until the end of the immunity lifting procedure in Parliament on 2 February to consider any coercive measure.

In the same investigation, another Socialist MEP, Italian Andrea Coccolino, who was also granted immunity on February 2, was arrested yesterday, Friday, in Italy on an international arrest warrant, Eric van der Sypt confirmed today.

Belgian justice is now awaiting his extradition.


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