MEP Andrea Cozzolino in Belgium for questioning

Italian MEP Andrea Cozzolino arrived in Belgium on Monday to be questioned in connection with the European Parliament corruption probe known as Qatargate, the Belgian federal prosecutor's office and Cozzolino's lawyer confirmed on Monday. 

Cozzolino was not extradited to Belgium. "My client came to Belgium of his own free will," said his lawyer, Dimitri de Béco. "He renounced the pending proceedings in Italy and his challenge to the European arrest warrant. He came to Belgium of his own free will to answer the questions of the investigators and the investigating judge."

Investigating judge Michel Claise questioned Cozzolino on Monday evening. Claise was expected to rule on Cozzolino's possible arrest on Tuesday after further questioning. However, in a surprising turn of events, Claise recused himself from the investigation late on Monday night amid allegations of a conflict of interest.

Since late 2022, the federal prosecutor's office has been conducting a major investigation into attempts by Qatar and Morocco to influence decision-making in the European Parliament. Both countries allegedly tried to influence parliamentary decisions through former Italian MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri and his NGO Fight Impunity. Cozzolino is one of the MEPs suspected of taking bribes but has denied the allegations.



Italian MEP Andrea Cozzolino © PHOTO JOHN THYS / AFP


Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels