Tarabella released from prison: 'I have nothing to reproach myself for'

Tarabella released from prison: 'I have nothing to reproach myself for'
Credit: Belga / Frederic Sierakowski

Marc Tarabella, the Belgian MEP who is currently under investigation by the Belgian authorities in connection with the so-called Qatargate corruption scandal, has claimed that he has "nothing to reproach [himself] for" after his release from prison on Thursday morning.

The 60-year-old will be placed under house arrest at his home in Anthisnes, Wallonia. He said that his time in jail had been "a real ordeal".

"I am relieved to be able to join my family," l'Echo quoted Marc Tarabella as saying. "I would like to thank all the people who have shown their support to me during all these weeks. I repeat: I have nothing to reproach myself for and of course I remain at the complete disposal of the investigators if they have any other questions."

Tarabella was arrested in February by the Belgian authorities just days after his immunity was formally suspended by the European Parliament. In January, he was officially expelled from both his centre-left EU parliamentary group (S&D) as well as his political party in Belgium (PS). His release from prison was officially announced by the Belgian judicial authorities on Tuesday.

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Among other allegations, Tarabella has been accused by Italian former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri of accepting bribes of up to €140,000 to support pro-Qatari policies.

The Belgian's release coincides with that of other key figures implicated in the scandal, including Panzeri and Greek MEP Eva Kaili. Like Tarabella, both Panzeri and Kaili will be required to wear movement-monitoring electronic ankle bracelets while they remain under house arrest in Belgium.

A fourth figure caught up in the scandal, Italian MEP Andrea Cozzolino, has been under house arrest in Italy for the past two months. Belgian prosecutors are currently seeking his extradition to Belgium.

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