By Santiago Vera García
The German newspaper ‘Der Spiegel’ reported that the former Italian Socialist MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri is the leader of a bribery network extending from Doha to Rabat so that the Socialist bloc would intervene in favor of the Arab world.
A real political scandal has broken out in the European Parliament.
Last week, the vice president of the European Union’s legislative body, the Greek Eva Kaili, was arrested along with other socialist leaders of the continent for being part of a corruption network with Qatar.
The initial accusation exposed a bribery network led by former Italian Socialist MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri to channel money from Qatari authorities to promote the emirate’s agenda in European Parliament votes.
In addition to Qatar, Morocco is also implicated in the corruption scandal rocking Europe, according to investigation documents accessed by the German weekly ‘Der Spiegel’.
According to the weekly in its online edition, Panzeri and at least 30 other people are accused of having received bribes from both Qatar and Morocco in exchange for orienting the vote of the socialist bloc in the European Parliament according to the requests of these Islamic countries.
According to Belgian investigators who have been working on the case for months, this network has been operating for years but had become more influential in January of this year when Kaili was appointed vice-president of the Europarliament.
For years they hid these bribes as “gifts”.
For example, during his time as head of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights, Panzeri received substantial sums of money from the Moroccan ambassador of a European Union country (whose name the newspaper kept classified), which he later justified as “a gift from a lifelong friend.”
The Sub-Commission failed time and again over the years to impose condemnations against Morocco for the kingdom’s policies that openly encouraged millions of undocumented migrants to cross into Europe.
The former MEP is also the founder and president of the human rights organization Fight Impunity, which is supposedly dedicated to fighting impunity for gross human rights violations or crimes against humanity in countries such as Russia, China, or the Arab world.
However, it is now known that this organization worked to ensure that the cases went nowhere.
Fight Impunity also worked with Francesco Giorgi, Kaili’s partner, one of the most involved in the corruption scandals in Doha.
As confirmed Tuesday by sources of the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office, more than one and a half million euros in cash have been found in the homes of the former vice president of the European Parliament and Panzeri.
On the one hand, investigators found about 600,000 euros in Panzeri’s home, while the rest of the money was found in the home of Eva Kaili and her boyfriend, Francesco Giorgi.
The four detainees (the three mentioned above plus an unidentified citizen), who, according to Belgian media, have been charged with crimes of participation in a criminal organization, money laundering, and corruption, are scheduled to appear next Wednesday before the Brussels council chamber, which will decide whether to keep them in custody or release them.
While all this is going on, the news in Europe and the Middle East is focused on the World Cup in Qatar and has little echoed this severe case of corruption, perhaps the most serious in the history of the European Parliament.
In addition, French and Moroccan fans clashed in the streets of France on Wednesday after the French team eliminated Morocco in the semifinals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup by 2-0, a match for which the French government had decided, in advance, to activate a strong police force to prevent the possibility of severe disturbances, but without success.
Paris, Lyon, Marseille, and Lille were some of the big cities where the fans of “Les Bleus” celebrated the qualification to their fourth World Cup final, but ended up being brutally beaten by Moroccan immigrants, who did not leave them room to commemorate the French in their own country.
With information from Derecha Diario