Corruption scandal: Two MEPs lose immunity

In the EU corruption scandal involving ex-Vice President Eva Kaili, the immunity of two other MPs has been lifted.

They are said to have received money from Qatar and Morocco. Now the Belgian judiciary is investigating.

The European Parliament in Brussels has lifted the immunity of two other MEPs. The plenary followed the request of the Belgian judiciary to enable criminal investigations. Both politicians were until recently members of the Socialist Group.

Belgian Marc Tarabella is suspected of receiving perks from the Gulf state of Qatar. According to the Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee, he is said to have taken certain positions in favor of a third country over the past two years. According to a witness statement, he is said to have received 120,000 to 140,000 euros for this. As part of raids in December, investigators also searched Tarabella’s private rooms.

Influence by Qatar and Morocco

The Italian Andrea Cozzolino is also said to have been influenced by Qatar and also by Morocco. A report by the Judiciary Committee alleges that Cozzolino reached an agreement with others in 2019 to lobby parliament against decisions that could damage the interests of certain states. He is said to have been paid for this.

Tarabella and Cozzolino reject the allegations: “I’m innocent,” Tarabella said after the vote to lift immunity. He will work extensively with the judiciary and “primarily provide information on their questions”.

Connection to Eva Kaili

An employee of Cozzolino, Francesco Giori, is one of the main suspects in the EU corruption scandal. He sits next to three other suspects in custody – including his partner, the deposed Deputy Speaker Eva Kaili. The Belgian judiciary accuses them of corruption, membership in a criminal organization and money laundering. A total of 1.5 million euros in cash were confiscated in the scandal.

Kaili’s immunity was lifted in December. The Greek politician is suspected of having received money and expensive gifts from Qatar and Morocco. In return, she is said to have supported the two countries in political decisions. Large sums of cash were found in raids on her apartment. The EU Parliament then decided to remove her from her post. Kaili and the other suspects, as well as the two countries, are protesting their innocence.

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