One Month ago, A leading figure in the Qatargate corruption scandal spoke against the Belgian investigators. A prime suspect in the case, now a former, has questioned the integrity of the Belgian authorities’ investigation into the alleged crimes.
Niccolo Figa-Talamanca was released from prison in February. After his release, he immediately alleged that the Belgian justice system was not handling the case accurately. He said Belgian authorities are doing it in a murky way, and the Belgian justice system has faced criticism for leaks to the media from the investigation.
In the December 2022 raids of Belgian police, he was also arrested as one of four prime suspects in the Qatargate investigation. Belgian authorities allegedly traced a link between his organisation, No Peace without Justice, to the corruption scandal. After his release, he was re-appointed as secretary-general of the organisation.
MEP Eva Kaili, her spouse Francesco Giorgi, MEP Antonio Panzeri, Marc Tarabella and Andrea Cozzolino were also on the police’s radar and arrested. Police also recovered the cash, which totalled 1.58 million dollars, at raids from suspects’ houses, but none were found in the home of Figa. Here, the question arises on what basis Figa was arrested and investigated. According to Belgian authorities, The suspects were accused of accepting funding from Qatar and Morocco. In return, they use their political influence on behalf of these Gulf countries in EU policy-making.
Despite the absence of proof against him, or no cash was found at his home, his name is still on the case list. According to Figa-Talamanca, Belgian authorities asked about a costly designer watch given to him during an advisory trip to Qatar. He rejects any gift related to himself. Talamanca protested that it belonged to his organisation.
Further, he said There is nothing specific that I’m accused of, but still, I am being targeted by Belgian authorities for the exact reason I don’t know. The motives behind the Belgian prosecutor’s case against the Qatargate suspects are unclear. Figa-Talamanca contended that his speech against Belgian authorities was a natural reaction. Being linked to an international corruption scandal hurts his work as a human rights defender.
Suspicions and unclear prosecution by Belgian authorities raise serious questions about the case’s credibility. The exact motives behind this investigation are yet to be precise. This case was made by Belgian authorities to achieve their interest, and now they are confused as to what to do further.