Home World EU committee votes to lift immunity from two MEPs amid ‘Qatargate’ inquiry | European Union

EU committee votes to lift immunity from two MEPs amid ‘Qatargate’ inquiry | European Union

by News Desk
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The European Parliamentary Committee has voted to lift the immunity of two MEPs following a request from Belgian authorities investigating the “Qatargate” bribery and corruption scandal that rocked the EU parliament.

MEPs on the European Parliament’s Legal Committee voted unanimously and without abstention on Tuesday to strip the immunities of Belgium’s Marc Talavella and Italy’s Andrea Cozzolino.

The European Parliament is widely expected to endorse the committee’s view in Thursday’s vote, officially ending immunity from prosecution for both members of the European Parliament.

The request for immunity came from Belgian authorities, who have indicted four people for bribery, money laundering and membership of a criminal organization in connection with alleged payments from Qatar. Pia Antonio Panzeri, former MEP of Italy, Eva Kairi, MEP of Greece, Francesco Giorgi, her aide to the MEPs of Italy, Niccolo Figa, head of her NGO in Brussels Four of her in Talamanca are in pretrial detention.

Like Talavella and Cozzolino, Panzeri and Kairi were members of the European Parliament’s socialist and democratic group. Three of his MEPs have been expelled from the block.

Kairi automatically lost her immunity. caught her red-handedUnder Belgian law, MEPs are not immune from prosecution if they are allegedly involved in criminal activity.

Police seized around €150,000 (£130,000) from the Brussels apartment she shared with fellow suspect Giorgi. On the same day, Kairi’s father was stopped from checking her €750,000 luggage from a hotel in Brussels, but he was later released without charge.

Andrea Cozzolino has declared his “absolute innocence”. Photo: John Tis/AFP/Getty Images

Earlier this month, Panzeri signed a plea deal with the prosecutor I agree to give evidence in exchange for a reduced sentence. Panzeri said he gave Talavera €120,000, according to a leak to the Belgian press from the investigation.

Kairi, Talavera, and Cozzolino have denied all wrongdoing allegations. Giorgi’s attorney declined to comment, but Figa Talamanca’s family has strongly denied all allegations of wrongdoing on his behalf.

Police raided Talavera’s home last month, but no charges have been filed.

In a leaked letter to the commission, Talavera said he welcomed the lifting of the immunity “fully aware of the possible consequences” so he could protect his name. He declared that he never received money or gifts in exchange for his political opinions, writing: Contrary to my position, it has clearly changed over time. “

Through his attorney, Cozzolino declared his “complete innocence” and explained that his request to have his immunity lifted was based on “the hypothesis of the investigation.”

Cozzolino appeared before a judicial committee earlier this month to defend himself, but Talavera waived that right.

Manon Aubry, the French radical left MEP who was in charge of preparing a formal proposal to lift immunization, told Belgium’s French-language public broadcaster RTBF, hoping the lifting of immunization would shed light on the scandal. said there is. “Iceberg”. She said, “There is a missing piece in the puzzle, and I hope this lifting of immunity will help provide the other piece of the puzzle.

Qatar also denies all allegations of wrongdoing.

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