Belgium charges another MEP with corruption

Belgium Charges Another Mep With Corruption
Marc Tarabella, a Belgian socialist, was detained on Friday. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty
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Belgian prosecutors have charged another MEP with corruption in a cash-for-influence scandal that shook the European Parliament, Belgium's daily Le Soir reported.

Marc Tarabella, a Belgian socialist, was detained on Friday. Le Soir quoted federal prosecutors as saying on Saturday he was charged with corruption, money laundering and membership in a criminal organisation.


Tarabella's lawyer, Maxime Toller, said his client denied any wrongdoing during the questioning by Belgian authorities.

The so-called Qatargate started last December when authorities charged four people linked to the European Parliament – which sits in the Belgian capital Brussels – over allegations that World Cup host Qatar lavished them with cash and gifts to influence decision-making.

Greek member of the European Parliament Eva Kaili, Italian former member Pier Antonio Panzeri, along with two others, are also in Belgian custody facing charges of corruption and money laundering in relation to alleged payments from Qatar and Morocco.

Panzeri has agreed to work with Belgian authorities in exchange for a reduced sentence. Kaili has denied wrongdoing. Morocco has complained of "judicial harassment" after the graft probe.

Kaili's partner, Francesco Giorgi, who is also in custody and has confessed to taking bribes, said he suspected Tarabella of receiving money from Qatar, according to a source close to the investigation. Giorgi's lawyer declined to comment.

Tarabella's lawyer has said the MEP had visited Qatar twice and had been fully transparent about these trips to construction sites and work camps, with a focus on addressing human and labour rights and freedom of expression.

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