Qatargate: Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella pleads not guilty – “I never received money or gifts”

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The Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella declares his innocence, whose immunity has been requested by the justice in the context of the investigation of the corruption case in the European Parliament. He denounces the confession of a key suspect in defense of his own interest, with his electronic message to the Committee on Judicial Affairs of the European Parliament.

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Marc Tarabella was yesterday suspended from the Socialist group in the European Parliament and from the Belgian Socialist Party pending the investigation.

He was accused by former MEP Pier Antonio Pancheri – one of four suspects on remand in the Qatar corruption case – who told investigators that paid the Belgian MEP “€120,000 to €140,000”, according to the newspaper L’Echo.

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“To this day I still don’t have the right to defend myself. I plead and will plead not guilty. I have never received money or gifts in exchange for my political views. I am judged by public opinion or by some of my colleagues based on press reports or the confession in defense of the same interests of prisoners, a confession that seems to have changed over time, contrary to my own position,” he writes.

He will not speak to the press

Antonio Panzeri, central figure in the case, he made an agreement with Belgian justice under which he undertakes to provide information to investigators in exchange for a reduced prison sentence. This is a “protected witness” status, similar to that applicable to the anti-Mafia practice in Italy.

Marc Tarabella’s residence in the Liege area has been searched since December 10 as part of the investigation, but no cash was found, APE-MPE reports, citing AFP.

The European Parliament’s Judicial Affairs Committee will rule on requests to waive the immunity of Marc Tarabella and another Socialist MEP, Italy’s Andrea Coccolino, forwarded in early January by the Belgian judiciary. According to a parliamentary img, the Commission intended to summon Tarabela for a hearing on Tuesday.

He declined the call explaining that he will not speak to the press or anyone else before speaking to the judicial authorities, who are the only ones able to guarantee the quality and impartiality of the process. “I also consider that the issue of the lifting of my immunity will not be the subject of discussion … it must, of course, be lifted.”

Source: News Beast

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