Qatargate: Panzeri requests confrontation with Tarabella
Pier Antonio Panzeri, a suspect in the major Belgian investigation into corruption in the European Parliament, is asking the investigating judge for permission to confront Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella. His lawyers announced this on Friday.
Maxim Töller, the lawyer for Tarabella (PS), has questioned the credibility of Panzeri's statements to investigators on several occasions in recent months. In particular, the former Italian MEP had stated that he had given Tarabella several thousand euros from Qatar and Morocco to influence European politics.
"I can no longer accept the increasing number of untruths and unfounded accusations without responding"
"I can no longer accept the increasing number of untruths and unfounded accusations without responding," Panzeri said in a statement released by his lawyers, Marc Uyttendaele and Laurent Kennes. "I therefore want to face Mr Tarabella as soon as possible, whose defence is constantly trying to discredit me in the media.
"Unlike other protagonists in the case, I will not make statements in the media about my own statements nor those of other suspects, neither before this confrontation nor afterwards."
"I accept the consequences of my actions"
He added: "I accept the consequences of my actions, I have acknowledged them all, and I have identified all the key players I know in this case, as required by my status as a penitent." Panzeri said he would continue to tell the truth, regardless of the defence strategies of the accused.
The Qatargate corruption scandal is the ongoing political scandal in which European Parliament officials, lobbyists and their families are accused of corruption, money laundering and organised crime influenced by the governments of Qatar, Morocco and Mauritania. The scandal erupted in December when Belgian police arrested several political figures and seized more than 1.5 million euros in cash in a series of raids. Both Qatar and Morocco deny any involvement in corruption.
Former Italian MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri leaves the prison of Saint-Gilles in Brussels on 13 April 2023 © KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP