Corruption scandal with Qatar at the center of the European Union. Last Minute Belgium, France headlines and events



The European Parliament is shocked by the high-profile corruption scandal in the interests of Qatar. While football matches of the World Cup were going on in Qatar, a bribery and corruption scandal erupted in the heart of the European Union, stretching from the European Parliament to Qatar.

Suspecting that the “Gulf country” was influencing the political and economic decisions of the European Parliament (EP), Belgian prosecutors ended up arresting four people, including Greek Deputy European Parliament Minister Eva Kaili, suspected of receiving bribes from Qatar.

An investigation into relations between Qatar and the European Parliament by the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau of the Belgian Federal Police began in July. The team was led by investigating judge Michel Klez, who conducted investigations that had implications in the banking, political and football worlds and specialized in financial matters, corruption and money laundering. The investigative team eventually uncovered the corruption that led to the Vice President of the European Parliament, suspecting that the Gulf state influences the economic and political decisions of the European Parliament.

A Belgian federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement that 5 people were arrested as part of an investigation conducted on suspicion of “corruption” and “money laundering” at the European Parliament in Brussels on Friday, December 9th. . “The Gulf state is suspected of influencing the economic and political decisions of the European Parliament by paying significant amounts of money or providing substantial gifts to third parties of political and/or strategic importance in Europe,” the statement said.

Raid on sixteen addresses

The Belgian police, which revealed the fact of financial corruption at the end of the investigation, conducted searches at 16 addresses in different parts of the capital. While the police arrested Kylie and 3 people associated with her, they found 600 thousand euros in cash during the searches they carried out at various addresses. Computers and mobile phones were also confiscated to check their contents.

The fact that among those arrested was 44-year-old Greek socialist Eva Kaili, one of the vice-presidents of the European Parliament, increased the scale of the scandal. In addition to MP Kylie, his wife Francesco Giorgi, Italian trade union leader Luca Visentini and 67-year-old former Italian MP Pier-Antonio Panzeri, who was a member of parliament from 2004 to 2019, were also arrested.

The effect of the earthquake in Brussels

It was noted that although the corruption operation, which rose to the position of Vice President of the European Parliament, caused a strong earthquake effect within the EU, there may be consequences of this earthquake, and the investigation of corruption may spread to other deputies in parliament. Investigators also visited and sealed the offices of two deputies from the social democratic group S&D, Belgian Mark Tarabella and deputies Marie Arena.

In November, the two elected officials spoke of the “imperfect but progressive” nature of the human rights situation in Qatar. The Belgian newspaper Le Soir reported that there was talk in the corridors of the European Parliament that the incident was “just the tip of the iceberg and that the incident was big enough to raise eyebrows in the European Parliament”.

Why did Qatar turn to the AP?

According to information in the Belgian press, Qatar appealed to MEPs “in order to protect its image” and influence the political orientation of the EU, during the preparation for the World Cup, while criticizing the human rights situation in the country and migrant workers. As an example of the influence of Qatar on the decisions of the European Parliament; Most members of the S&D group denounced the European Parliament’s failure to “respect Qatar’s fundamental responsibility to protect human rights and the rights of migrant workers as it prepares for FIFA 2022” and recommended investigation into the deaths of thousands of migrant workers, often attributed to “natural causes”. reasons”, votes against.

AP MPs say S&D MPs, along with right-wing and far-right groups, voted overwhelmingly against 6 additional amendments that called for a tough stance on the Doha regime. Many MPs from the Liberal Democrat group said they were “overwhelmed by this position and suspect that Qatar is actively lobbying behind it.”

Eva Kaili, a member of the S&D group and a former Greek television journalist, recently told Parliament: “Today’s World Cup in Qatar is concrete proof of how sports diplomacy can transform a country. Qatar is a pioneer when it comes to workers’ rights.” His words attracted the attention of not only deputies, but also the judiciary.

Membership Suspended

On Friday, the S&D group said in a statement that they learned of the incident “in dismay” and that Kylie’s membership was immediately suspended. In a statement: “We are the first to support a thorough investigation and full disclosure. We will cooperate fully with all authorities. In this spirit, we will not publicly comment on the ongoing legal proceedings. Given the gravity of the allegations, Gulf of Mexico authorities will continue to refrain until authorities provide the information and necessary disclosures,” the statement said. “We call for the suspension of all files relating to their countries and voting in the general assembly, especially the issuance of visas and scheduled visits,” the statement said. says in the statement.

Socialist Party expelled

The Greek Socialist Party Pasok expelled Kylie from the party following his arrest. According to the Belgian police, given to the country’s media, since the police caught Eva Kylie red-handed, Kylie will not be able to use parliamentary immunity. The police found bags of cash at Kylie’s house.

Eva Caili’s wife, Francesco Giorgi, is a parliamentary adviser to Andrea Cozzolino, an Italian MEP for the S&D group. Giorgi was an aide to former Socialist MP Pier-Antonio Panzeri, who served in the European Parliament from 2004 to 2019, focusing on Arab countries and human rights.

archival photo

Giorgi and Panzeri founded Fight Impunity in 2019, which supports the fight against impunity and international justice. Police raided the headquarters of the organization, which includes names such as former French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and former EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini.

Qatar is silent, parliament reacts

While the Qatari administration remained silent in the face of arrests and charges, the European Parliament said: “Parliament does not comment on lawsuits. As always, the European Parliament cooperates fully with the national authorities, and the same applies to this special case.” done.

The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, shared a message on her Twitter account: “Our Parliament strongly opposes corruption. We will do our best to facilitate the work of justice.”

A group of MEPs and non-governmental organizations called for an urgent debate in the European Parliament on improving ethics. “This is not an isolated case, but over the past decade Parliament has allowed a culture of impunity to flourish,” Transparency International (TI) said.

French MP Nathalie Loiseau, a member of the MEP Renewal Group, tweeted: “The time has come to expose the shortcomings in our parliament and take a clear stand.”

Radical French MP Manon Aubry, who has often spoken out about Qatar’s influence in the European Parliament and complained about lobbying for Qatar, was also a guest on France Info radio, demanding Eva Caillie’s resignation and demanding that the issue be resolved. discussed at the General Assembly of the European Parliament next week.

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