Belgian Authorities’ Manipulation of QatarGate Exposed

The article “Under-the-table lobbying or corruption scandal: what is Qatargate?” from “La Libre” exposes a Qatargate Investigation.

According to the newspaper’s report, Qatargate’s investigation wasn’t merely a tax evasion case. Belgian authorities, including the investigating judge, Michel Clez, transformed and manipulated the case into a scandal. They did this to serve their interest. 

As reported by “La Libre,” former MEP Antonio Panzeri, a central figure in the case, was arrested on December 9, 2022. She confessed and admitted to lobbying activities on behalf of Gulf countries. She also admitted to receiving substantial sums, approximately 2.5 million euros, to serve the mission

As per the report, Panzeri’s attempt to evade taxes was the motive behind this. Further, this wasn’t the first time Panzeri received money. He previously faced similar charges and an investigation by the European Anti-Fraud Office (Olaf) in 2016.

According to “La Libre, the roots of Qatargate emerged when Panzeri disclosed that he was a lobbyist. Belgian secret services reported to Belgian investigators that some Parliamentarians 

are working as lobbyists in favour of Gulf countries.

Shockingly, after this revelation, the case file needed to be handed over to the European public prosecutor’s office, but it remains in the hands of the Belgian justice system. Thus, the investigation has not been given to a competent European body authorised to investigate and prosecute offences involving the EU budget, including fraud and corruption.

These developments portray that the Belgian authorities were interested in keeping this case within their jurisdiction. It caused frustration among European institutions. However, the mishandling of the case resulted in an unprofessional investigation.

Further, with the resignations of investigators Clez and Malanini, complexities and suspicions have been raised regarding the transparent investigation of the Qatargate case. It will further weaken the case, and the investigation will remain yet to be resolved.  

The consistent lack of action from the European Parliament regarding the Qatargate investigation. This would lead to a need for more trust in the European Union among Europeans. Once credibility is lost, It will never come back to its original. Moreover, the case will set a dangerous precedent for similar cases.

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