Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella indicted in Katargate probe – Politico

Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella was charged on Saturday with corruption, money laundering and participation in a criminal organization in an investigation linked to alleged corruption in the European Parliament. A spokesman for the Belgian prosecutor confirmed the charges to Politico.

His lawyer Maxime Toller told Politico that the Belgian MEP has been transferred to St Gilles prison in Brussels and will be heard in a pre-trial hearing on Thursday, which a spokesman for the Belgian prosecutor also confirmed.

The charges came after Belgian authorities arrested Tarabella on Friday, whose investigating judge held a hearing on Saturday morning.

Several raids were carried out on Friday: a safe deposit box of Tarabella at a bank in Liège was searched by Belgian police, as well as several offices in the Walloon town of Antishes, where Tarabella is still mayor.

The other three suspects – former European Parliament vice president Eva Kylie, her partner Francesco Giorgi and MEP Antonio Panzeri – are still in prison.

In January, Panzeri made a deal to cooperate with investigators. According to earlier confessions, Panzeri said Tarabella was bribed up to 140,000 euros.

Toler stated that “no operation was possible [authorities] to confirm Panzeri’s allegations” and that investigators are using “expired” information, based on Panzeri’s early December confession.

The European Parliament waived immunity for both Tarabella and fellow MEP Andrea Cozzolino in a plenary session last week, paving the way for Belgian investigators to question them.

In the same investigation, another Socialist MEP, Italian Andrea Cozzolino, was reportedly arrested in Italy on Friday evening.

Both Tarabella and Cozzolino deny any wrongdoing.