March 4. 2024. 10:14

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Qatargate: Belgium to decide on the release of Tarabella, Kaili


Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella and former European Parliament’s VP Eva Kaili, who is currently incarcerated in Belgium for alleged participation in the corruption scheme at the heart of the Qatargate scandal, will know on Friday whether they will be kept in detention.

Tarabella and Kaili’s lawyers pleaded for their client’s release on Tuesday.

Their lawyers claim that the words of former MEP Pier-Antonio Panzeri – who signed a repentance agreement and agreed to collaborate with authorities in exchange for a lighter sentence – are not to be trusted since he is “speaking out in exchange for something”.

Tarabella earlier requested the dismissal of Michel Claise, the presiding judge on the Qatargate case, citing a “legitimate suspicion” of bias.

Tarabella’s lawyer Maxim Toller explained that the judge’s arrest warrant stated that “the public positions of the defendant [Tarabella] were initially unfavourable towards Qatar, and then his positions changed from the moment the suspicious movements of funds were detected,” which, according to Toller is tantamount to giving a clear “opinion on the guilt of Mr Tarabella in this case”.

The Brussels Court of Appeal will examine the request on Tuesday.

“The procedure is underway, the European Parliament has the intention and has initiated the relevant internal steps to this end,” the European Parliament’s press service of confirmed to the Belgian news media.

No deadline has been set for filing the complaint, and the name of the lawyer who will represent the institution is not known either.

With the outbreak of the scandal, the European Parliament has lost credibility and recently made a series of proposals to tighten controls on lobbying within institutions to avoid new corruption scandals to salvage this.

The civil lawsuit may help the institution to distance to dissociate itself further from the corruption scandal.

(Anne-Sophie Gayet | EURACTIV.com)