Extended detention of two European MPs in case of alleged corruption linked to Qatar and Morocco – Day 24
On Friday, the Belgian judiciary again extended the pre-trial detention of Eva Kayli and Marc Tarabella, two MEPs suspected of involvement in a corruption case linked to Qatar and Morocco.
“The temporary detention of the two suspects has been extended by two months and one month respectively,” the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.
The MP from Greece, imprisoned for three months, and the MP from Belgium, whose membership in the bloc of Socialists and Democrats was suspended, denied these accusations.
They appealed the decision to extend their detention, which was taken on 16 February by the Brussels Chamber, the court tasked with following up on the case.
On Friday, Maxim Toller, the lawyer for Mark Tarabella, who was indicted on February 11 and jailed, confirmed that his client was “not guilty.”
“We will continue our fight to get an innocent man out of prison… who is innocent and has never received money or gifts for his opinion,” the lawyer said in a press release.
As part of this investigation, three people were placed in temporary detention in Belgium on suspicion of influencing decisions of the European Parliament for years in favor of foreign powers in exchange for receiving money.
The case concerns Kylie, Tarabella and Pier Antonio Panziri, a former European MP (2004-2019) and a central figure in the case. This “repentant” negotiated a limited prison term in exchange for a promise to reveal to investigators everything he knew about the corrupt system he confessed to creating.
A fourth suspect, Italian MP Andrea Cozzolino, was arrested and placed under house arrest on February 11 in Italy. He appealed to the Italian courts against the decision to extradite him to Belgium on the basis of an international arrest warrant.
As for Parliamentary aide Francesco Giorgi, who is close to Panziri and Kylie’s partner, he put on the electronic bracelet at the end of February after being arrested for more than two months in Belgium.
He was among the first group arrested on December 9 in Brussels, when investigators found 1.5 million euros in cash, spread out in bags or suitcases.
Both Qatar and Morocco have vehemently denied involvement in any corruption case in the past three months.