The Qatargate scandal, which revolves around alleged corruption within the EU Parliament, has recently taken a surprising twist. New information has come to light, suggesting that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) may have played a substantial part in instigating the investigation. Documents obtained by investigative agencies indicate that ALP Services, a company hired by Abu Dhabi in 2018, had already identified a number of European politicians and officials suspected of involvement in Qatar-related lobbying activities.
The Swiss Connection:
In October 2018, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) sought the assistance of private investigator Mario Brero to unveil Qatar’s lobbying activities within European Union (EU) institutions. Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with Swiss investigative agency Alp Services, commissioned this endeavor by allocating a significant sum of money. As a result, a comprehensive list containing the names of numerous European politicians and officials who were purportedly backing Qatar was provided.
The Brussels Connection
In March 2019, Alp Services produced three significant documents: The Stage 1 Report of the Constellation project, an informative infographic outlining the Qatar network in Brussels, and a comprehensive investigative report on Avisa Partners, a private intelligence firm. Interestingly, it is worth mentioning that some individuals mentioned in these documents later emerged as suspects in the Qatargate investigation.
The Implicated Figures
In the documents, several individuals were named, including Eva Kaili, Antonio Panzeri, and Marc Tarabella, alongside 70 others who were labeled as lobbyists for Qatar by the Swiss agency. It is worth mentioning that Alp Services uncovered evidence suggesting Panzeri’s involvement in a corruption scheme.
Specifically, it was discovered that Panzeri had traveled to Doha in April 2018 to arrange a hearing in the European Parliament. This visit allegedly led to the discovery of a substantial amount of cash at Panzeri’s residence in Brussels in December of that same year.
Little did Alp Services realize they had inadvertently become linked to influential individuals who would later play a pivotal role in a scandal involving Qatar. Specifically, it came to light that Pier Antonio Panzeri had attended a press conference organized by the National Human Rights Committee in Doha on April 8, 2018.
During this event, Panzeri addressed the violations resulting from the blockade and expressed his intention to arrange a hearing for Ali Bin Samikh Al Marri before the European Parliament in the coming months.
Interestingly, Al Marri, serving as the president of the Human Rights Commission and working as a lobbyist for Qatar, has now emerged as a central figure in the QatarGate controversy, as well as being implicated in various irregularities associated with Paris Saint Germain.
Responses and Reactions
When asked for comment, Eva Kaili and Antonio Panzeri did not respond. However, lawyers representing Panzeri expressed concerns about the European Parliament becoming a battleground for surveillance by foreign secret services.
They argued that such activities could potentially violate the immunity and European law that govern democratically elected MEPs. On the other hand, Marc Tarabellas’ lawyers strongly denied any claims of him being associated with a friendship group with Qatar, stating that such allegations were completely false.
The Qatargate scandal’s connection to UAE’s ALP Services raises concerns regarding the credibility of lobbying activities within the EU Parliament and the role of foreign entities in shaping political narratives.
These revelations underscore the difficulties in combating orchestrated attacks on a nation’s reputation in today’s interconnected global media landscape. Additional investigations are expected to provide further insight into the intricate network of interests and influences that have contributed to this controversial scandal.