The politician is suspected of having acted on behalf of Qatari authorities in order to influence the policies of the European Parliament says a note from the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office. Three other Italians are under investigation with him
Former MEP from the Socialists and Democrats group Pier Antonio Panzeri and three other Italian citizens are investigated and arrested by the Brussels judiciary in an international investigation for corruption which also sees involved the Qatari authorities. According to the Belgian newspapers Le Soir and Knack, Panzeri and the other three were detained for interrogation and house searches. The judge will decide within 48 hours whether to issue an arrest warrant.The Italian authorities have also been informed of the investigation.
The Federal Criminal Police carried out 16 searches – confirmed the federal prosecutor’s office – in various locations around Brussels. These searches were carried out as part of an extensive investigation into alleged acts of criminal organisation, corruption and money laundering. During these checks 500,000 euros in cash were seized. The investigators suspect that a Gulf country has attempted to influence the economic and political decisions of the European Parliament. According to Belgian media the country in question is Qatar and among the people involved there is precisely Panzeri, who once finished his mandate as MEP continued to work in Brussels as a lobbyist. The federal prosecutor’s office, which does not mention names in its note, would have shed light on a flow of money that would have reached some parliamentary assistants working in EU buildings.
Panzeri, who was also a member of the leadership of the DS in 2004 had been elected in Brussels on the list of the then United for the Olive Tree ; previously he had held the role of trade unionist for a long time and had been secretary of the Chamber of Labor in Milan. In 2014 he was re-elected to the EU assembly in Pd share, a party he left in 2017 by joining Article One. In 2019 he founded an NGO called Fight Impunity in the Belgian capital of which he is currently president. With Panzeri the investigation would also concern Luca Visentini , secretary general of the international organization of trade unions and former director of Uil.
The file was opened last July by prosecutor Michel Claise, who specializes in financial crimes.
(article being updated)
December 9, 2022 (change December 9, 2022 | 2:49 pm)
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