Qatargate, Belgian police detain MEP Marc Tarabella

The Belgian authorities have detained MEP Marc Tarabella, who is being interrogated, explains the federal prosecutor’s office. This afternoon the investigating judge will decide whether to transform the detention into arrest. Tarabella had already been expelled from his socialist party, as part of the investigation linked to alleged corruption in the European Parliament, the so-called Qatargate. The news of the detention was given by the Politico newspaper, according to which a spokesman for the Belgian prosecutor confirmed after a previous report by the Flemish broadcaster VRT. Tarabella’s lawyer, Maxim Töller, told Politico that his client had not yet appeared before the investigating judge. Tarabella has so far always denied any accusation.

Stopped after waiver of immunity

The European Parliament lifted the immunity of both Tarabella and fellow MEP Andrea Cozzolino in a plenary session on Thursday, paving the way for Belgian investigators to question them. Three other suspects are in jail. According to parliamentary reports, Tarabella and Cozzolino’s violations of Belgian law could include bribery, participation in a criminal organization and money laundering.

The developments

Late last week, the Belgian investigating judge who led the case released from prison one of the four original inmates of the case, Niccolò Figà-Talamanca, general secretary of one of the non-governmental organizations linked to the corruption scandal. Three other suspects, the former vice president of the European Parliament Eva Kaili, her partner Francesco Giorgi and the former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri are still in prison. In January, Panzeri struck a deal to cooperate with investigators.