ER Editor: It’s hard to find much mention of the other possible 50+ people involved in the Qatargate corruption scandal. The Italian report by Il Giornale linked to below (EU-Qatar tangents. Panzeri in prison at least a month. Now in the viewfinder there are sixty MEPs – browsers will translate) mentions this:
On the table of judges called yesterday to evaluate the position of the four there was a much more nourished evidence and evidence material than has been leaked so far. The banknotes found at Panzeri and Kaili’s home ( on which fingerprint searches would also be underway ) are the « smoking gun », proven evidence of the corruption operation carried out in the heart of European democracy. But there is much more to the file collected by Judge Michel Claise, there is the detailed reconstruction of the network of reports that had allowed Panzeri to guarantee indulgent treatment by numerous parliamentarians towards the Qatar regime and towards the organization of the World Cup. According to the Greek press, there are sixty MEPs in the sights. It is a network largely internal to the parliamentary group of Socialists & Democrats, that now – after the names of at least four of its components have ended up in the investigation papers – he seems stunned and unable to react. If downloading Panzeri, now without formal roles in Parliament, was easy, to explain how nobody has noticed in recent months the changed attitude on the part of part of the S&D group to Qatar risks being embarrassing.
The seals affixed by the OCRC – the anti-corruption police – to about twenty offices of parliamentarians on the left are the most striking sign of the vastness of the Panzeri network. The connective tissue is undoubtedly the parliamentary assistants, paid directly by the EU using the budget of 21 thousand euros per month of each deputy, but who respond directly to the latter. Indeed, they are often the guide in the complicated world of the Community institutions. But it is unlikely that this story could end by releasing the blame only on the assistants. Indeed, according to local sources, the opposite is possible: that the investigation makes a qualitative leap, and after digging on the offers of the pro-Qatar lobby to parliamentarians, go and analyze any contacts in the true heart of European power, the Commission, the government of the Union.
Worth checking out from Politico:
Up to 60 MPs possibly involved in EU corruption scandal
As many as 60 MEPs, mostly socialists, could be in the crosshairs of investigators as the European Parliament corruption scandal involving Qatar appears to be on the rise, Breitbart reports.
The ongoing corruption scandal in the European Parliament may involve many more MEPs than Greek socialist Eva Kaili and former Italian MP Pier Antonio Panzeri, both of whom were arrested last week, with Belgian investigators seizing €1.5 million from their homes .
The pair are said to have taken large sums of money from the governments of Qatar and Morocco, with MEP Kaili’s father being caught with a suitcase full of cash at the Sofitel hotel in Brussels.
As many as 60 MPs, most reportedly members of the Socialists and Reformists (S&D) group, may also be involved in the alleged corruption as part of a much larger network, Italian newspaper Il Giornale reports.
Belgian prosecutors have also named Abderrahim Atmoun, Morocco’s ambassador to Poland, as a person of interest in the case.
Atmoun is said to have been at the origin of gifts to Mr. Panzeri, his wife Maria Dolores Colleoni and his daughter Silvia Panzeri.
The family is said to have used a credit card linked to a person the family refers to as “the giant”, although it is unclear whether or not Ambassador Artmoun is the “giant” referred to by Panzeri and his family.
The communication between the family members was made public as part of an extradition request where Panzeri’s wife mentioned that the family had paid a whopping $100,000 for the Christmas holiday last year.
Both Panzeri’s wife and daughter are in Italian custody after being arrested on December 8 and are likely to be extradited to Belgium where they face up to five years in prison.
Greek MP Eva Kaili, meanwhile, has been relieved of her position as Vice President of the European Parliament, but has denied taking money from the Qatari government.
Greek prosecutors announced on Thursday that they too will investigate Kaili’s activities, including allegations of bribery and money laundering. Economic prosecutor Christos Bardakis has put two assistant prosecutors on the case, but Greece will only file charges if no charges are filed in Belgium.
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