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Qatargate: Belgian justice releases MPs Kaili, Tarabella appeals


Belgium’s justice authorities will decide on Tuesday whether the appeals to get released by jailed EU lawmakers Eva Kaili and Marc Tarabella as part of the Qatargate scandal will be accepted.

The Belgian authorities recently rejected again the two MEPs’ request to get temporarily released with an electronic bracelet until the Qatargate trial takes place.

Their lawyers made an appeal to the decision. In the case of Kaili, if the appeal is rejected, she will have to spend another two months in jail, according to Belgian law, until she makes a new release request.

Both are members of the Socialist and Democrats (S&D) group in the European Parliament and have declared they are innocent.

Last week, Francesco Giorgi, the partner of Kaili who admitted his guilt immediately after the scandal erupted, was freed from jail but on the condition of wearing an electronic bracelet.

A source close to the matter told EURACTIV that it’s “really uncertain” what the Belgian justice will decide on Tuesday.

On one hand, the source noted that the release of Giorgi “cancels” Kaili’s argument that, as a mother, she must be with her child and therefore be released.

On the other hand, the source said Pier Antonio Panzeri, the alleged mastermind behind the scandal, who has made a deal to confess everything to Belgian authorities, “has spoken enough,” and therefore, the possibilities of Kaili to destroy evidence and put obstacles to the ongoing investigation are minimised.

Press reports suggest that Panzeri has confessed that Kaili and other MEPs were bribed with at least €250,000 each from Qatar to fund their re-election campaigns.

Kaili insists that she is innocent and was unaware of her partner’s “illegal” activities with Panzeri. Her Greek lawyer Michalis Dimitrakopoulos also said Panzeri is “unreliable” and would give any name to get a softer sentence.

source: euractiv

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