EU meeting begins assessment of immunity of two MEPs over graft scandal By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter exterior the EU Fee headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, September 28, 2022. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Parliament started a month-long process on Monday to waive the immunity from prosecution of two lawmakers who Belgian investigators need to query over a cash-for-influence corruption scandal.

Parliament President Roberta Metsola instructed the meeting in Strasbourg that Belgium had requested immunity be lifted for Italian Andrea Cozzolino and Belgian Marc Tarabella, each of the centre-left Socialists and Democrats.

The parliament’s committee on authorized affairs will assessment the requests and search to conclude inside a month to permit parliament to vote in its subsequent full session in mid-February.

Tarabella and Cozzolino, via their legal professionals, each deny wrongdoing and say they’re able to waive their immunity and reply to questions by Belgian authorities.

Greek member of the European Parliament Eva Kaili, Italian former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, together with two others are in Belgian custody going through prices of corruption, cash laundering in relation to alleged funds from Qatar.

Qatar and Kaili have denied wrongdoing, whereas Panzeri’s lawyer has declined to remark.

Kaili’s associate, Francesco Giorgi, who can be in custody, has confessed to taking bribes and stated he suspected Tarabella of receiving cash from Qatar, in accordance with a supply near the investigation. Giorgi’s lawyer has declined to remark.

Tarabella’s lawyer stated the lawmaker had visited Qatar twice and had been absolutely clear about these journeys to development websites and work camps, with a give attention to addressing human and labour rights and freedom of expression.

The European Parliament this week will choose a member to interchange Eva Kaili as certainly one of its vice presidents and debate the scandal, that has been dubbed “Qatargate”.

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