A recent Leaked Report regarding MEP Maria Arena, a prime suspect in a corruption scandal, increases the complexity of the Qatargate investigation. The report revealed that Belgian MEP Maria Arena played a more critical role in the Qatargate scandal than she confessed. The Belgian newspaper Sudinfo disclosed that report. This report is part of the investigation conducted by Belgian authorities.
The report contains phone calls and notes between Arena and Antonio Panzeri, which was tapped by Belgian secret services. She is a prime suspect in Qatargate investigations. In conversation, both discuss payments that might have funding from Qatar.
According to the Belgian secret services, stated in the report, evidence of public corruption, criminal organization, and money laundering was traced in the conversations. Yet, Arena has not been prosecuted and rejects any misconduct. As a result, she finds herself in an awkward position, especially since her son was implicated in the case on November 23rd. Belgian authorities discovered large sums of money and drugs in his flat.
Recorded conversations between Arena and Panzeri, indicating that she was an essential figure in Panzeri’s network. She was also accused of receiving jewelry and gifts and took large sums. In conversations, It also seems that the Panzeri thanked her for managing money.
Sudinfo also alleges that the Arena has relations with prime suspects in the investigation, including Mr. Abderrahim Atmoun, Moroccan ambassador to Poland. Further, a Moroccan diplomat hosted Arena and Panzeri to dinners in Marrakech and Belgium. He allegedly offered free trips and tickets to sporting events for Arena’s son.
According to Investigators, Arena also accepted instructions from Panzeri. The former parliamentary assistant to Panzeri also disclosed the connections between Arena and Panzeri, along with other suspects, MEPs Andrea Cozzolino and Marc Tarabella. Further, the conversations indicate that Arena had discussed holding a conference in Nigeria to discuss the humanitarian situation in Africa.
Arena allegedly planned to manage it via Panzeri’s NGOs, Fight Impunity and No Peace Without Justice, since she could not do so as an MEP. She previously spoke on human rights while visiting Qatar in 2022.
In the view of investigators, Arena allegedly took out tasks and assignments directly on behalf of the Qatari Minister of Labor. Further, the report states that Marie collected the work payment of Panzeri and Giorgi on their behalf.
These developments raise serious concerns about the credibility of MEPs. European Parliament should take action against these deputies and harden lobbying rules to protect the integrity of Parliamentarians.