Qatargate Scandal: The Troubling Saga of Belgian Authorities and Legal Integrity

Last month, in the Qatargate fiasco, another shocking incident occurred, exposing the Belgian authorities. Following the release of audio wherein the principal investigator of the Qatargate case admits not believing the “repentant” Pier Antonio Panzeri. He suspects the former MEP, believed to be at the top of the alleged organisation dedicated to corruption that shocked the European Parliament

However, Antonio’s lawyers request clarity from authorities on why the investigator is making such statements. Moreover, Panzeri’s lawyers have asked the investigating judge and the federal prosecutor’s office to explain their intended actions regarding what is termed a new “media lynching” against their client. This also highlights the bias of the Belgian authorities, as investigators of the case should not make such statements.

Moreover, it has come to light that the investigator will remain in charge of the investigations, which caused considerable astonishment among the involved defenders. After such statements, the investigators should be removed, but no action shows that the Belgian authorities are on something planted. Everyone is disconcerted by the partiality of this investigator and by the content of his statements. The inspector’s words demonstrate intense hostility not only towards Antonio but also towards the judicial and political authorities of the country.

The surprising thing is that the leaked recording of the investigator dates back nine months, and since then, no element or concern has led the judicial authority to question the actions or statements of the investigators. According to the audio, the chief inspector, recorded without his knowledge on May 3 by Francesco Giorgi – husband of the former vice-president of the European Parliament Eva Kaili and former right-hand man of Panzeri, all involved in the investigations – admitted that he did not believe a word of what Panzeri said, even underlining that “we will do what is necessary to ensure that the repentant does not pass”. 

These declarations, made by Panzeri, would have adapted, from time to time, to what was contained in the file and based on which several politicians ended up in trouble, including Andrea Cozzolino and Marc Tarabella. 

Since the inception of this case, there have been repeated requests to the federal prosecutor for utmost transparency regarding the agreements involving Mr. Panzeri and other defendants, as emphasised by Maxim Toeller, Tarabella’s lawyer. The inspector’s statements unequivocally cast doubt on the credibility of the repentant’s confessions and the protective agreement surrounding him. This recorded evidence underscores that having repentant status does not guarantee truthfulness. It further validates Mr. Tarabella’s concerns, indicating that Mr. Panzeri’s allegations weren’t the sole ones deserving of support. It is important to emphasise this point clearly.

This investigation can’t uncover the truth about these accusations if the federal prosecutor’s office, through official or secret agreements, only influences the so-called “witnesses” for the prosecution. The techniques employed by this investigation, including private agreements, concealed investigative elements, recordings of confidential discussions with legal representatives, and the confiscation of documents designated for lawyers, are deeply concerning. These methods starkly conflict with the foundational principles of a fair trial, which necessitates transparency, respect for attorney-client privilege, and due process.

The accumulation of failures in this investigation raises serious questions about Belgian authorities, including systematic leaks of information to the press, questionable reliance on repentance, and a manifest conflict of interests with the previous investigating judge. The inclusion of illegalities, undisclosed agreements, and irreparable breaches of defence rights exacerbates the gravity of the situation.

It is imperative that the justice system takes decisive action and acknowledges the irrevocable damage inflicted by this investigation. Only by confronting these issues head-on can the integrity of the legal process be restored and trust in the judicial system be preserved.

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