Belgian justice extended on Friday March 3 once again the pre-trial detention of Eva Kaili and Marc Tarabella, two elected members of the European Parliament suspected of corruption for the benefit of Qatar and Morocco.
“The preventive detention of these two suspects has been extended by two and one month respectively.“, announced the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office in a press release.
“He has nothing to be ashamed of”
Both the elected Greek, imprisoned for almost three months, and the Belgian, also a suspended MEP from the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group, deny the accusations. They had appealed against their continued detention decided on February 16 by the council chamber of Brussels, a court of control of the instruction. Maxim Töller, Marc Tarabella’s lawyer, charged and imprisoned on February 11, reaffirmed on Friday that his client was “innocent“.
“We will continue to fight to get an innocent man out of prison (…), he has nothing to reproach himself for and has never received money or gifts in exchange for his opinions“Reacted the lawyer in a statement sent to the press. In this resounding investigation, three people are currently in pre-trial detention in Belgium, suspected of having interceded in favor of foreign powers in the decisions of the European Parliament for several years, in return for payments of money.
Read alsoCorruption in the European Parliament: Eva Kaili, the Greek MEP through whom the scandal arrives
They are Eva Kaili, Mr. Tarabella and Pier Antonio Panzeri, a former MEP (2004-2019) and central figure in this file. This “repentednegotiated a limited prison sentence in return for agreeing to turn over to investigators everything he knows about the corruption scheme he admitted to orchestrating. A fourth suspect, Italian MEP Andrea Cozzolino, was arrested and then placed under house arrest on February 11 in Italy. He challenges before the Italian courts his surrender to Belgium under an international arrest warrant.
Finally, the parliamentary assistant Francesco Giorgi, close to Mr. Panzeri and companion of Eva Kaili, was placed under an electronic bracelet at the end of February after more than two months of detention in Belgium. He was part of the first wave of arrests, on December 9 in Brussels, when investigators got their hands on 1.5 million euros in cash distributed in bags or suitcases. Qatar and Morocco have strongly denied in the past three months that they were at the origin of any corruption.
SEE ALSO – “Fraud exists everywhere in Europe”, according to the chief prosecutor of the European Union