Bribes for Qatar: investigations in Milan into the ‘friends’ of Doha money ring

Tags : Qatargate, Morocco, Antonio Panzeri, Eva Kaili, Franceso Giorgi, corruption, European Parliament,

by Giuseppe Guastella
For now, the Deputy Prosecutor Fabio De Pasquale, head of the « international affairs » pool, is moving by providing judicial assistance to colleagues in Brussels who have asked to hear witnesses

If Panzeri’s Fight Impunity was the means through which to bribe those in the European Parliament who could ’embellish’ the image of Morocco and Qatar with his words, if through it the money ended up mainly to Italians, MPs or not, then it is in Italy that it should be sought and possibly found. The first objective of the investigation by Milan’s Deputy Prosecutor Fabio De Pasquale is precisely this. For the time being, the magistrate in charge of the « international affairs » pool is moving forward by providing judicial assistance to his colleagues in Brussels who have asked to hear witnesses, acquire bank accounts and verify whether there are people connected to Antonio Panzeri who may have received money from his NGO, which, formally committed to the defence of human rights, seems to work more to protect the interests of Rabat and Doha, according to the few, meagre official allegations that are known. And there are already the first results. And it is not excluded that the Milan Public Prosecutor’s Office could open its own file.

Milanese investigative sources speak of ‘substantial’ funds deposited in the first current accounts under investigation. Qatar would have needed to avoid seeing its image tarnished by the debate on human rights violations on its territory, especially those of the workers who died in their hundreds in accidents during the construction of the World Cup. Excessive attention would have meant the risk of boycotts, defection of athletes or even entire national teams or, as happened, demonstrations by some footballers, such as those embryonic and immediately crushed by FIFA in the very first matches.

The fact is that the World Cup is coming to an end and the noble themes of human rights have been drowned out by the shouts of the fans. Morocco has been pursuing the same path of improving its image for years. On two issues: the treatment of the poor immigrants who pass through its territory from the Sahel on their way to Europe; the problems with the independence groups on the border with Algeria linked to Rabat’s aims of extending its territory eastwards into the Sahara. Panzeri’s action, therefore, should have been precisely aimed at creating fertile ground among the parliamentarians he frequented during the ten years he was a member of parliament for the PD and then for Articolo 1, also through the dense network of their collaborators. Among them is Francesco Giorgi, the 35-year-old sailing instructor from Abbiategrasso whom Panzeri took with him as a collaborator in Brussels when he was a Member of Parliament, guaranteeing him the important salary that is granted by the institution to these figures. When Panzeri was not re-elected in 2019, Giorgi moved on to do the same job with Eva Kaili, who later also became his partner; they now have a 22-month-old daughter. Envied as the most beautiful couple in the European Parliament, the two are now in jail with Panzeri in the investigation where they are accused of criminal conspiracy, corruption and money laundering.

Corruption and money laundering: these are offences that are usually committed with the passing of goods and money. In Panzeri’s house, 600,000 euro in cash were found, another 750,000 in the beautiful house in Brussels where Kaili and Giorgi lived until their arrest and which the latter, also to save his partner’s life, confessed were only his. But investigators suspect that the loot is not limited to this mountain of cash notes. The offshoots of the money, other than the one seized, could have travelled from Belgium to Italy. Not only in the possession of Panzeri and Giorgi, but also of other people (the offices of 19 collaborators of parliamentarians were seized and sealed in Brussels, many of them Italian). Finding them by following the flow of is the task of De Pasquale and the Guardia di Finanza.

While the arrests were being carried out in Brussels, Panzeri’s wife and daughter were arrested in Calusco d’Adda (Bergamo) on 9 December. They are now under house arrest pending the hearing in which the Brescia Court of Appeal will decide tomorrow whether to hand them over to the Belgian judiciary. At the same time, their home and Giorgi’s home in Milan were searched, where another 20,000 euro in cash was found, and the office of an accountant in Opera where, however, nothing suspicious was found.

Cronache agencia giornalistica,17 december 2022

#Morocco #Qatargate #Bribes #Corruption #Eva_Kaili #Antonio_Panzeri