France

Suspicions of corruption: “There will be no impunity”, promises the President of the European Parliament

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“European democracy is under attack,” said European Parliament President Roberta Metsola on Monday, expressing “fury, anger and sadness” over the alleged corruption scandal, by Qatar, of a Greek MEP.

“There will be no impunity (…) nothing will be put under the carpet”, she promised in the Strasbourg hemicycle, announcing an “internal investigation” to examine all the facts related to the European Parliament and reform the institution.

Four imprisoned people

The Greek elected Eva Kaili, who occupies one of the 14 vice-presidencies of the institution, as well as three other people, were imprisoned on Sunday in Brussels, two days after being arrested as part of an investigation targeting important payments of money that the host country of the World Cup-2022 would have made to influence European policy.

Roberta Metsola was very affected, evoking “one of the longest days of her career”. But she said she was convinced that the European Parliament would emerge stronger from the crisis. “These malicious actors, linked to autocratic third countries, have apparently used NGOs, trade unions, individuals, aides and MEPs as weapons in an effort to subjugate our processes. Their malicious plans failed,” she claimed.

A reform for more transparency

“Our services, of which I am incredibly proud, are working with the relevant national judicial and law enforcement authorities to dismantle this alleged criminal network,” she said. “We will launch a reform process to see who has access to our premises, how these organizations, NGOs and people are financed, what links they have with third countries, we will ask for more transparency on meetings with foreign actors”, promised Roberta Metsola.

The President of the European Parliament also wants to better protect whistleblowers. “We will protect those who help us report crime and I will work to review our whistleblower systems to see how they can be strengthened,” she said.

Search at the European Parliament

At the same time on Monday, the Belgian police carried out a search of the Parliament, as part of an investigation into suspicions of corruption to influence decisions of this EU institution, announced the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office.

This is the twentieth search in four days in Belgium in this investigation. This is the first to directly target the premises of the European Parliament.

Hundreds of thousands of euros seized

The federal prosecutor’s office reported the seizure, in total, of several hundred thousand euros in three different places, from three suspects.

In detail: “600,000 euros at the home of one of the suspects, several hundred thousand euros in a suitcase seized in a room of a Brussels hotel and around 150,000 euros in an apartment belonging to an MEP” .



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letelegramme Fr Trans

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