Scandal at European Parliament: Panzeri to remain in pre-trial detention

Scandal at European Parliament: Panzeri to remain in pre-trial detention
Italian former MEP Antonio Panzeri. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Italian former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D) has withdrawn his appeal against the Belgian judicial authorities' decision to keep him in pre-trial detention, Belga News Agency has reported.

Panzeri, who has been in custody ever since his arrest on 9 December, had been scheduled to appear before a Belgian court to contest his pre-trial detention on Tuesday.

Panzeri is at the centre of a corruption scandal that has profoundly shaken European politics over the past month. He is believed to have solicited hundreds of thousands of euros in bribes from Qatar and Morocco. He is also alleged to have been helped in his efforts by his wife and daughter, as well as by his former assistant Francesco Giorgi: the partner of Greek MEP Eva Kaili (S&D), another key figure implicated in the scandal.

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Last month, Panzeri made a "partial confession of the facts" to investigating judge Michel Claise, although it is not yet known what specific allegations the former MEP confessed to.

Giorgi has admitted his full involvement in the scandal, although he has denied Kaili's involvement.

Both Kaili and Giorgi are reported to have confirmed to the Belgian authorities that Panzeri received payments from the Qatari and Moroccan Governments in exchange for his support for pro-Qatari and pro-Moroccan policies.

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