An Italian court has agreed to extradite the wife of former deputy Antonio Panzieri to Belgium. He is one of the main players in the European Parliament bribery scandal.
The investigation into this scandal revolves around whether a “state in the Arabian Peninsula” bribed members of the European Parliament. It is generally assumed that this refers to Qatar. Last week, the Belgian newspapers De Morgen and De Standaard wrote that Morocco was also involved in a possible bribery of members of parliament.
Panzeri is seen as the centerpiece in the fraud case. Money would come to him, after which he divided it. Panzeri is stuck in Belgium.
According to the prosecutors, the wiretaps show that his wife, Maria Colleoni and her daughter, Silvia Panzeri, took an active part in the bribery. They would have known about it and would have been involved in the transfer of the “gifts”.
Daughter’s trial tomorrow
At the request of the Belgian authorities, the two were arrested in Italy on suspicion of participation in a criminal organization, corruption and money laundering. They have been under house arrest ever since. The daughter’s case will be heard separately tomorrow.
Despite the decision of the Court of Brescia that Panzieri’s wife may be extradited, it is unlikely that this will happen soon. Her lawyers said they were considering appealing to Italy’s highest court.
In the corruption investigations, which began since the beginning of July, six suspects were arrested at the beginning of this month. Among them was Eva Kaili, one of the vice-presidents of the European Parliament. It is accused of bribery by Qatar and Morocco, but also of fraud in compensating its employees.
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