Qatargate Chronicles: Struggling for Justice in Belgium

One year has passed since the outbreak of the Qatargate Scandal. A series of obstacles and leaks constantly hindered the investigation into this scandal of alleged corruption in the European Parliament. Recently, the federal public prosecutor’s officer, Frederic Van Leeuw, assured that the case is moving on. Further, He protested against the endless leaks and the immense pressures in this case. Moreover, he revealed that the foreign magistrates also desired to get involved in the investigation. Surprisingly, He said, in the ten years of being a federal prosecutor, I have never witnessed this sort of complex investigation.

On the other hand, Eva Kaili’s lawyers say it’s no longer Qatargate but rather Belgiumgate. They claim that Belgian Authorities targeted Eva Kaili, and her parliamentary immunity was breached. Her Belgian lawyers Sven Mary and Christophe Marchand criticized the procedure by which the investigations were provoked in Belgium on the grounds of reports from Belgian intelligence services. They also urged the Brussels Court of Appeal to control the regularity of the investigation. 

Currently, with uncertainties, no one can predict the date of the future trial. At the same time, a federal prosecutor said in June that he was thinking of completing the investigation at the end of 2023.

Another prime suspect in Qatargate, Marc Tarabella’s lawyers, also contended that the approach of investigation raised a lot of questions. MEP Marc Tarabella’s lawyer raised concerns about developments in the Qatargate investigation. They named the exit of investigating judge Michel Claise. They pointed out the conflict of interest arising from the alleged relationship between Claise’s son and MEP Marie’s son.  

The investigation has another point of tension. The agreement concluded in January between the prosecution team and the accused, Pier Antonio Panzeri, raised suspicions as he confessed his doings.  A deal under which the former MEP, confessing to having staged the fraud, undertakes to provide the complete scheme as well as the names of the parties in exchange for a limited prison sentence.

There is doubt that the arrangement made it feasible to spare people close to Panzeri. It includes Belgian MEP Marie Arena, who was mentioned in the investigation but never attended until the revelations and withdrawal of Michel Claise. There are possibilities that Claise had protected her. Arena has been under fire for her lack of involvement in the investigation but has denied any wrongdoing. She is now facing calls for her resignation.

The entire investigation seems flawed and staged. Now, it is evident that The Belgian authorities have made a plethora of blunders. The point is that the European Parliament has yet to take any action and has yet to launch an inquiry into this matter to find the main culprits. This shows that the European authorities are not taking the situation seriously. The Belgian government needs to be held accountable for its actions. It is high time for the EU to intervene and take the necessary steps to restore public confidence.

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