New Qatargate revelations: 280,000 Euros in Cash at the home of MEP’s sonEU | September 1, 2023, Friday // 13:07| views
MEP Maria Arena @Wikimedia Commons
The police found 280,000 euros in cash at the home of the son of MEP Maria Arena, reported the Belgian newspaper "Le Soir", quoted by BTA.
The uniformed officers searched five other locations, all of which were "directly or indirectly connected to Arena or her family," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.
The scandal, the biggest to rock European Union politics in decades, is based on suspicions that Qatar and Morocco bribed politicians, parliamentary aides and NGOs to influence decision-making in the European Parliament.
"I am convinced that the investigation will confirm that I am not involved in any way in this case. I will probably be heard in the coming weeks, after the holidays," Arena said in her defense.
Members of the European Parliament (EP) Eva Kaili, Marc Tarabella and Andrea Cozzolino are suspects in the Qatargate case, and former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri has pleaded guilty. Arena was mentioned in the investigation from the beginning because of her friendship with Panzeri and his connections to the other three suspects.
In June, the investigating magistrate Michel Cleis decided to recuse himself from the case after it became clear that his son had a joint business with Arena's son since 2018.
Maria Arena resigned as chair of the European Parliament's human rights committee in January after "Politico" revealed she failed to declare free flights and luxury hotel stays paid for by the Qatari government.
Arena is an MP from Belgium and a member of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.
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