Borrell Morocco go to clouded by Qatargate scandal –


The EU on Wednesday (4 January) defended a visit by its prime diplomat to Morocco, which has been linked, together with Qatar, to a graft scandal unrolling on the European Parliament.

As “there isn’t a proof” of wrongdoing at this stage, it’s proper the journey by EU international coverage chief Josep Borrell on Thursday and Friday ought to go forward, a spokesman for Borrell mentioned.

“Nobody has formally mentioned from the judicial standpoint that Morocco as a rustic is responsible, and Morocco must be averted in worldwide contact,” mentioned the spokesman, Peter Stano.

The scandal erupted final month when Belgian police raided a number of addresses utilized by some lawmakers and aides within the European Parliament, lobbyists and NGO heads.

The searches turned up 1.5 million euros in money, suspected to be pay-offs as a part of efforts to affect selections within the European Parliament.

Qatar has denied any wrongdoing within the case, which continues to be being investigated by Belgian authorities.

4 suspects are in custody, together with a Greek MEP, Eva Kaili. She was not capable of excercise her parliamentary immunity as a result of a choose decided she had been caught red-handed.

Kaili, who was stripped of her place as one of many parliament’s 14 vice presidents after her arrest, insists she is harmless.

By her lawyer she has expressed ignorance about 150,000 euros in money present in her Belgian residence.

Her Italian boyfriend, Francesco Giorgi, a parliamentary aide, has reportedly made a confession to Belgian prosecutors, which additionally alleges Moroccan involvement.

Morocco intelligence companies

Morocco is reportedly concerned on this case of potential corruption with its exterior intelligence service, the DGED – Directorate Normal for Research and Documentation.

In response to the paperwork that Le Soir and La Repubblica had been capable of seek the advice of, Panzeri, Cozzolino and Giorgi had been involved with the DGED and with Abderrahim Atmoun, Morocco’s ambassador to Poland.

Along with Abderrahim Atmoun, two brokers of the Moroccan intelligence service are cited in these paperwork.

MEPs have raised considerations over Morocco’s doable involvement following developments within the case set out in Belgian newspapers.

The affair has forged a cloud over different EU establishments, and elevated media scrutiny of dealings by EU commissioners and prime officers who just lately handled Qatar and Morocco.

Stano mentioned the matter “is within the fingers of the judiciary in Belgium” and “we’ve full belief” of their work to analyze the allegations.

‘Vital accomplice nation’

Within the meantime, “Morocco is an important accomplice nation” for the European Union, which needs to advance a partnership with it.

Borrell would “additionally increase problems with concern on our aspect” throughout his go to, Stano added.

In his former capability as international minister of Spain, Borrell has pursued energetic contacts with Morocco, a key accomplice for Madrid.

The 4 suspects in Belgian pre-trial detention are: Kaili, Giorgi; a former Italian MEP, Pier Antonio Panzeri; and Niccolo Figa-Talamanca, the Italian head of an NGO suspected of creating funds to MEPs.

All 4 are charged with “felony organisation, corruption and cash laundering”.

Greece and Italy have launched their very own investigations into the alleged corruption.

The European Parliament has vowed reforms to wash up the legislature, together with strengthening whistle-blower protections, banning all “unofficial friendship teams” with international governments, and growing vetting of MEPs funds.

Its president, Roberta Metsola, on Tuesday launched a process to elevate the immunity of two different MEPs linked to the case, on the request of Belgian authorities.

They’re an Italian MEP, Andrea Cozzolino, and a Belgian one, Marc Tarabella, in response to sources briefed on the course of the Belgian investigation.

Tarabella, by way of his lawyer, mentioned he was harmless and welcomed having his immunity lifted to reply investigators’ questions.

(Edited by Georgi Gotev)

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