Saturday, February 4, 2023

EU Parliament wants to remove immunity from two legislators

BRUSSELS ( Associated Press) — The president of the European Parliament has launched an urgent process to waive the immunity of two lawmakers following a request by Belgian judicial authorities probing a major corruption scandal affecting EU politics.

The European Parliament reported on Monday that President Roberta Metsola has asked all services and commissions to prioritize the process with the aim of completing it on 13 February.

“From the very beginning the European Parliament has made every effort to assist the investigation and we will continue to ensure that there is no impunity,” Metsola said. “Responsible people will find this Parliament on the side of the law. Corruption cannot continue and we will do everything possible to fight it.

The press service of the European Parliament did not identify the two legislators. Italian Andrea Cozzolino and Belgian Marc Tarabella, according to two people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly because the investigation is ongoing.

Both are members of the Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament. Tarabella, whose house was raided last month, has denied any wrongdoing. Both were sent a request for comment.

A third lawmaker, Eva Cali, has already been charged in connection with the scandal, which allegedly implicates Qatari and Moroccan officials suspected of influencing economic and political decisions with gifts and money.

Prosecutors charged Kelly with corruption, membership of a criminal organization and money laundering. The Greek socialist legislator has been detained since 9 December. His partner, Francesco Giorgi, an adviser to the European Parliament, has been jailed on the same charges.

Kelly was relieved of his duties as Deputy Speaker of Parliament after being impeached. He had immunity from prosecution but was brought before a judge last month after Belgian police raided a Brussels compound and found a large amount of cash at his home.

Callie and Giorgi are suspected of working with Giorgi’s former boss, Pier Antonio Panzeri, a former EU MP. According to the arrest warrant, Panjeri is “suspected of politically interfering with members of the European Parliament working for the benefit of Qatar and Morocco in exchange for remuneration.”

Nation World News Desk
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