Qatargate: investigating judge Michel Claise confirmed to lead the investigation

Investigating judge Michel Claise will continue to lead the investigation into alleged acts of corruption within the European Parliament. The Brussels Court of Appeal rejects the request to recuse him filed by the defense of the Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella. The judge is therefore maintained in his functions.

According to Me Maxime Töller, Marc Tarabella’s lawyer, the judge would have violated the presumption of innocence in the drafting of the arrest warrant, revealing his feeling that the MEP is guilty.  » He seems to accept that the accusations against my client are proven, while he must carry out the investigation for and against him. There is no use of the conditional « , explains the lawyer for the MEP Belgian.

We remain convinced that the risks of seeing the presumption of innocence violated were a reality

Maxime Töller had filed a motion for recusal of the examining magistrate Michel Claise. But the latter had considered that he did not have to withdraw from his investigation.

Today, Maxime Töller’s request has been rejected by the Court of Appeal, but Marc Tarabella’s lawyer persists:  » We remain convinced that the question of the judge’s impartiality arose and that the risks of seeing the presumption of innocence were a reality. We take note of the decision to keep Judge Claise in office. »

« If the recusal procedure was able to obtain an impartial investigation, it will not have been in vain. We will continue to defend the rights of Mr. Tarabella wherever and whenever necessary. As a reminder, Mr. Tarabella has maintained his innocence since day one; he says he has never received any money or gifts in exchange for his opinions. »

An investigation with Qatari and Moroccan ramifications

Marc Tarabella is charged in an investigation for alleged acts of corruption within the European Parliament. Certain deputies and other people gravitating around the institution would have perceived important sums of money in order to support economic and political decisions of the European Parliament for the benefit of Qatar.

This Middle Eastern state is said to have paid large sums of money or offered substantial gifts to people occupying a political or strategic position within and around the European hemicycle. Morocco also appeared in the investigation, with a possible attempt at corruption led by its intelligence agency, the DGED, and by its ambassador to Poland, Abderrahim Atmoun.

The investigations are carried out, for the federal prosecutor’s office, by the examining magistrate Michel Claise. The magistrate charged the MEP, as well as several other people, and placed him under arrest warrant. This warrant was confirmed by the indictment chamber.