Qatargate, MP Maria Arena questioned by the Belgian Public Prosecutor’s Office: “She was heard as a suspect”

Even the European Parliament Maria Arena It is included between the suspects In the investigation into the alleged bribes he paid The State of Qatar And from Morocco For representatives of European institutions. The Belgian politician, who was already involved in the investigation with searches of her offices and home but was never investigated, is now… question Without requesting that parliamentary immunity be lifted, as reported by the Belgian Federal Public Prosecutor's Office. Last July, at the home of the son of the politician considered very close to the alleged mastermind of the corruption system within the EU Parliament, the former socialist MEP. Pier Antonio Panzerihas been found 280 thousand euros monetary.

Arena's name appears several times in investigation papers, but the European Parliament was never under investigation. In the face of increasingly pressing news of his possible involvement in the alleged illicit money exchange between Brussels, Doha And RabatA few weeks after the scandal broke, the socialist MEP chose to resign from her position as Chair of the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights, one of those that caught the attention of Belgian judges, while denying all the accusations.

But the pressure on the former Belgian Minister of Social Integration, also due to her closeness to Panzeri, increased with the emergence of the business partnership between her son last June. Ugo And the former investigating judge Michelle CleeseNicholas, co-shareholders of the company Legal cannabis. A circumstance that prompted Claeys himself, whom Arena denied knowing “personally,” to leave the lead in the case out of suspicion Conflict of interest. This sparked intense criticism from other suspects because of the different treatment they claim they receive by the judicial system.

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In July, investigators raided the socialist's property in Brussels in the presence of the President of the European Parliament. Roberta Mitsola. After the discovery of 280,000 euros in her son’s home, the European Parliamentarian said that she did not know its source, denying the hypothesis that it had a connection to Qatar or Morocco. In September, in an interview with newspapers If a bracelet, No libre And Le MondeLikewise, Arina distanced herself from her closeness to the repentant Panzeri. “He is no longer my friend. I hope I never see him again in my life,” she said, confirming that she never had a romantic relationship with him as has been reported several times.

At the end of November, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office announced that it did not intend to file a request, at least for the time being. Abrogation of immunity For the MEP, he believed that the measure was not “justified” because it was only necessary “for certain investigative procedures, such as an indictment or an arrest warrant.” However, failure to lift immunity does not prevent the investigating judge Aurélie Dejaev To put Arena under charge.

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