100 MEPs may be involved in Qatargate corruption scandal engulfing EU parliament, says Polish MEP

Former European Parliament Vice-President Eva Kaili. (Source: EP)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
4 Min Read

More and more EU politicians are getting dragged into the Qatargate bribery investigation, said Dominik Tarczyński, an MEP from Poland’s ruling conservatives, while speaking with public Polish Radio 3.

“As many as a hundred MEPs could be involved,” said Tarczyński. 

The corruption scandal, which shocked Europe and made headlines across the world, has seen a number of MEPs and former EU officials land in handcuffs after Belgian police raided offices and residences, where they reportedly found €1.5 million in bribe money stuffed in papers bags and suitcases.

According to Tarczyński, Poland’s Internal Security Agency, the ABW, played a key role at the beginning of the investigation and handed over information to Belgian investigators. He also revealed that new information on the scandal has been procured as a result of revelations regarding the arrest warrant issued against MEP Eva Kaili, the former vice-president of the European Parliament.

The Polish MEP said that new names are appearing all the time and that two more MEPs have now been arrested, according to a report from Radio Szczecin. Moreover, there is now “information that Kaili received more than €10 million in total, whereas back in December, it had been reported that this figure was between half a million and 1.5 million (euros),” said Tarczyński.

The information regarding the bribes was reportedly obtained from law enforcement surveillance of Kaili’s phone calls. 

Tarczyński argued that there is now a need to review the whole legislative process in the European Parliament and that all those involved in this scandal must be named. After that, there must be an investigation into who instigated the bribery plot, as many trails lead not only to Qatar and Morocco but to Russia as well.

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“The scandal will run and run, with more names emerging and new leads too,” said Tarczyński. Given that those who were allegedly bribed by Qatar helped influence a number of key votes related to Qatar, such as on the issue of allowing Qataris visa-free travel to Europe, the Polish MEP said he thinks there will now be moves to review and overturn some past resolutions of the European Parliament. There is concern that the Qatargate bribery case was only the tip of the iceberg and that many past votes and resolutions in Europe were influenced by foreign money and outright bribery.

The present corruption scandal emerged in December 2022, which involved accusations that countries such as Qatar and Morocco had bribed MEPs to ensure political and economic decisions taken by the European Parliament went their way. A former MEP, Pier Antonio Panzeri, a key figure emerging in the scandal, has admitted that he handed over €120,000 to Belgian MEP Marco Tarabelli. Panzeri is now cooperating with the investigators in return for a reduced sentence for his role in the crimes. 

The scandal has hit the socialist grouping the hardest. Eva Kaili a Greek socialist MEP who was a vice-president of the European Parliament, has lost her post and been charged with corruption. 

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