Qatargate: 280,000 euros in cash found in home of MEP's son
When Belgian police raided the home of MEP Maria Arena last month as part of the Qatargate investigation, they also searched the home of her son Ugo Lemaire. Inspectors found 280,000 euros in cash there, Le Soir reported on Wednesday. It is not yet known if the money is related to Qatargate.
The search itself took place on 19 July. "I was asked to be present at my home today following a visit by the investigating judge as part of the Qatargate investigation," Arena said through her lawyer, Michèle Hirsch, at the time. "I am convinced that the investigation will show that I am in no way involved in this dossier."
Qatargate is the ongoing political scandal in which a number of European Parliament officials, lobbyists and their families are suspected of corruption, money laundering and organised crime influenced by the governments of Qatar, Morocco and Mauritania.
MEPs Eva Kaili, Marc Tarabella and Andrea Cozzolino are suspects in the case, while former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri has pleaded guilty. Arena was mentioned in the investigation from the start because of her friendship with Panzeri and her links to the other three suspects.
Investigating magistrate Michel Claise decided in June to recuse himself from the case after it emerged that his son had been running a business with Lemaire since 2018.
Arena resigned from her position as chair of a European Parliament human rights committee in January after Politico revealed that she had failed to declare free flights and a stay in a luxury hotel paid for by the Qatari government. She denies any involvement in the Qatargate scandal.
© BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK