Corruption, cash and confessions: Who are the key suspects in the Qatargate scandal ?

© Jean-Francois Badias, AP

Investigations into Qatargate – the corruption scandal currently engulfing the European Parliament – took a spectacular turn this week when one of the prime suspects said Tuesday that he would cooperate with Belgian authorities. New revelations are expected to accelerate investigations and further implicate other suspects.

When Belgian authorities carried out 20 raids on 19 properties in Brussels on December 9, 2022, former MEP for Italy Pier Antonio Panzeri was one of the first to be arrested for his role in suspected corruption within the highest seat of European democracy.

This week 67-year-old Panzeri unexpectedly said he will cooperate with Belgian police investigations and reveal what he knows about accusations that include corruption, money laundering, and organised crime among members of parliament, aides and lobbyists in the European Parliament.

Panzeri revelations will also have an undeniable impact on three other primary suspects in the case: one of the European Parliament’s vice presidents, Greek Socialist Eva Kaili; her life partner and parliamentary assistant to an Italian MEP, Francesco Giorgi; and Niccolo Figa-Talamanca, Italian secretary-general of the NGO No Peace Without Justice.

Along with Panzeri, the three have been held in custody since their arrests, accused of crimes including participation in a criminal organisation, corruption and money laundering.

>> 'Qatargate will go down in history as the largest and most damaging political scandal'

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