HomeWorldEuropeBelgian Spies Discovered The Qatar Bribery Scandal

Belgian Spies Discovered The Qatar Bribery Scandal

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The Belgian justice minister says that the investigation into foreign interference in the European Union was going on when Belgian spies found out about the Qatar bribery scandal involving a European Vice President.

Prosecutors think that Eva Kaili, a Greek MEP, and three other people took bribes from FIFA in order to change EU policy.

Agents from Belgium’s secret service broke into the home of a former Italian MEP and found €700,000 in cash hidden there. This led to the unravelling of one of the biggest scandals to ever hit the 27-country bloc.

The country’s justice minister, Vincent Van Quickenborne, told the Belgian newspaper Le Soir about the investigation, “It was a game-changer that state security has been working on for more than a year with foreign intelligence services to map suspected bribery of MEPs by different countries.”

In the past, Brussels-led investigations into what was thought to be Russian and Chinese influence in the EU found Kremlin spies working as trade envoys and diplomats.

The operation of the Belgian secret service came to light when Francesco Giorgi, the partner of the former vice-president of the European Parliament, Kaili, admitted to his role in a graft scandal in Qatar, two sources close to the situation told Reuters.

One of the sources said that Giorgi’s admission that he took money from Qatar to try to get the European Parliament to change its mind about Qatar was “a significant contribution” to the investigation being done by Belgian investigating magistrates.

The same source says that Giorgi, who worked as an assistant in the EU parliament, tried to clear his partner Kaili of any wrongdoing.

Kaili, a Greek MEP, was kicked out of her job as vice president of the European Parliament on Monday. Through her lawyer, she has denied doing anything wrong.

Giorgi’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Giorgi is being held in jail until the case is looked into further.

Qatar has also said it didn’t try to pay off MEPs.

“The State of Qatar completely rejects any attempts to link it to accusations of wrongdoing. A Qatari official said Thursday that any link between the reported claims and the Qatari government is untrue and very wrong.

“It was a game-changer that state security has been working on for more than a year with foreign intelligence services to map suspected bribery of MEPs by different countries.”

– Vincent Van Quickenborne

A source close to the investigation said that Giorgi also said in his confession that he thought Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella got money from Qatar.

Tarabella has denied doing anything wrong. He had already said that his home was searched on Saturday as part of the Belgian investigation, but he has now said that he did nothing wrong.

Reuters asked his lawyer for a comment, but he didn’t answer right away.

Giorgi also said he thought Andrea Cozzolino, an Italian MEP in whose office he worked, had received illegal funds from Qatar, but he gave no proof.

Cozzolino told Italian news organisations, “I’m not being looked into.” I haven’t been asked anything. I haven’t been searched, and my office hasn’t been closed.

On Thursday, the European Parliament stopped working on any laws related to Qatar. Roberta Metsola, the president of the European Parliament, told EU leaders that she would lead reforms to prevent a repeat of a criminal corruption scandal.

By a vote of 541 to 2, EU lawmakers backed a resolution that said they were “appalled” by allegations that a former lawmaker and a staff member had been corrupt and laundered money.

The parliament said that it “denounces” what it says are attempts by the Gulf state to gain influence “through acts of corruption, which are serious foreign interference in the democratic processes of the EU.”

Info source – Dailymail UK

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