Allegations of Corruption Rock Belgian Judiciary: Calls for Case Dismissal

A month ago, One of the primary suspects in the corruption investigation surrounding the European parliament filed new objections to the conduct of Belgian investigators. He asked for the entire case to be thrown out as the entire case is based on staged scandal and errors by Belgian authorities. 

The complaint by Francesco Giorgi includes a secret recording of a discussion with a senior police officer implicated in the case, who paid him a visit at home last year and whined about prosecutors and judges in Belgium serving a political agenda. The audio recording is alarming and heightens concerns regarding the integrity of the Belgian judiciary, suggesting potential compromise, and raises questions about the impartiality of the Belgian police throughout the case. 

Chief police inspector Ceferino Alvarez-Rodriguez stopped by Giorgi’s flat on May 3 2023 to return a phone that had earlier been seized by the police. The talk was recorded by Giorgi without the police investigator’s knowledge. 

MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri was also apprehended in December, with police taking a total of €1.5mn in cash. After that Panzeri made a plea deal with Belgian investigators last year, following the detention of his wife and daughter. He confessed to receiving money from foreign governments to exploit EU legislation in return for a decreased sentence — a deal that has yet to be approved by a Belgian court.

However, In the recording, Alvarez-Rodriguez asserts that Belgian authorities believed that Panzeri was lying at the time he made his plea deal. “We know that [Panzeri is lying] and we will do what is necessary so that the [plea bargain] will not pass,” Alvarez-Rodriguez states.

 “If we prove he is lying . . . he is over.” The recording shows Giorgi was furious because investigators had searched his apartment after his release from jail and seized notes he had written for his legal defense.   

Furthermore, Alvarez-Rodriguez’s statement, “You must be crazy to trust the judiciary today, whatever country, whatever judiciary,” underscores a lack of confidence in the Belgian investigative methods and judiciary. His remarks suggest that there are underlying issues within the case, indicating potential bias within the Belgian judiciary and raising concerns about predetermined outcomes.

The appointment process for judges and prosecutors in Belgium typically involves selection by an independent judiciary council, followed by appointment by the justice minister. However, scrutiny of the investigative judge overseeing the case, Michel Claise, reveals potential flaws in the Belgian judiciary. Claise’s involvement in controversy, along with his initial biased order in the case, raises questions about the independence and impartiality of the Belgian judicial system. Moreover, his association with another MEP linked to Panzeri further underscores concerns regarding potential conflicts of interest within the judiciary.

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