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After Qatar, Morocco is also suspected of corruption at the EU level

A request seen by De Morgen and other newspapers has suggested that Qatar is not the only country mentioned as part of the corruption scandal that shocked EU politics over the last few days.

As we have previously reported, several MEPs, including the Greek socialist MEP and the vice-president of European Parliament Eva Kaili have been detained last week, and Belgian police discovered more than 1.5 million EUR as part of the investigations involving Qatar and MEPs in Brussels. Some still remain arrested after the detention of the police.

As EU officials tried to contain the growing scandal, lawmakers in parliament removed Greek socialist Member of the European Parliament Eva Kaili from the post of vice-president by a vote of 625 to one. Also, the vote for visa-free travel for Qataris has been postponed.

Qatar Airways agreement with the European Parliament to carry MEPs is also questioned now.

All these scandals now creating questions in Brussels bubbles regarding the activities of MEPs and their assistants. Lobbying groups are also being questioned more often.

Eva Kaili's lawyer said her client was innocent and "has nothing to do with the bribery case with Qatar". The Qatari government has denied any involvement in the case.

And now, after Qatar, media and social media mentioning the name of Morocco for similar scandals. The concerned MEP is Pier Antonio Panzeri.

The extradition request, which was formally delivered to Italy by investigating judge Michel Claise on Friday, also strongly suggests that Panzeri's 67-year-old wife, Maria Dolores Colleoni, and his 38-year-old daughter, Silvia, materially benefited from the scheme. Panzeri's remit as MEP was heavily Morocco-focussed as reported by Brussels Times. From 2017-2019 he led the European Parliament's Delegation for relations with Maghreb countries (DMAG), visiting Morocco numerous times throughout this period.

So far, more than 1.5 million EUR in cash — including €600,000 from Panzeri alone — has been been seized by investigative authorities in connection with the ongoing scandal.

The federal prosecutor's office did not want to confirm with the two daily newspapers the existence of an investigation targeting Morocco, and the diplomat in question could not be reached on Tuesday, the newspapers said.

According to De Morgen, the examining magistrate Michel Claise transmitted to Italy on Friday requests for the surrender to Belgium of the wife and daughter of Pier Antonio Panzeri, who live near Bergamo.

The scandal has led to six arrests and four individuals being criminally charged.

Morocco and EU flags
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