Moroccogate: « Tell us how much the Algerians give you, we give you double »

In its actions in Europe, where it is accused of corruption of parliamentarians, Morocco has never lost sight of Algeria

As the investigation progresses into the scandal of corruption of members of the European Parliament, the role of Qatar is increasingly more minimized. On the other hand, Morocco is designated every day a little more as the initiator of the network of influence through bribes within the European institutions.

Moreover, in their actions in Europe, the Moroccan services have never lost sight of Algeria.

“Behind Qatar, Morocco”. This is the aptly titled new investigation by Radio France Internationale (RFI) and the Belgian daily Le Soir into the scandal that has shaken the European Parliament since last December.

If Qatar was only concerned with taking care of its image on the aspect linked to the working conditions of foreign workers on the construction sites of the 2022 World Cup, Morocco was aiming for much more, in particular European policy on the Western Sahara file and trade agreements, silencing Europe on the Pegasus scandal, ignoring human rights violations in the kingdom… At least on

this last point, we understand better why Morocco has lost its status as a « child spoiled » of Europe to the point of being the subject of two unfavorable resolutions of the European Parliament in a few weeks, which has never happened before.

Last January and February, Morocco was condemned for its attacks on freedom of the press and its involvement in the corruption scandal.

Those who defended the cause of the Maghreb country in the spans of the Strasbourg institution are either arrested or under investigation and the others must now think twice before uttering a word in favor of Morocco.

RFI and Le Soir repeat in their long investigation what we already knew about the scandal, the main protagonists and the leading role of Moroccan services. However, with some new elements.

According to the two media, five European intelligence services alerted the Belgian security services in 2021.

Corruption in the European Parliament: Morocco’s processes revealed

The investigation triggered highlights three main characters, Italian MEPs Andrea Cozzolino, Antonio Panzeri and parliamentary assistant Francesco Giorgi, who « often take their orders » from Morocco’s ambassador to Poland, Abderrahim Atmoun.

Several million euros have been paid by Qatar, and especially Morocco. In Panzeri’s apartment alone, 600,000 euros in cash were recovered.

Listening to his wife and daughter as well as the confessions of Francesco Giorgi have formally established the source of the money: Morocco, via its ambassador Atmoun.

Sometimes the three characters come into contact with the Director General of Moroccan Foreign Intelligence (DGED). An officer of this corps, Mohamed Belahrech, is one of the main instigators of the network.

In a previous case in France, he had bribed an agent of the PAF (border police) in order to obtain the lists of people on file S but also, reveals the journalist from Liberation who broke the scandal in 2017, Pierre Alonso, information on the travels of Algerian ministers to France. Which makes the journalist say that we are closer to espionage than to the fight against terrorism.

In July 2021, Morocco was splashed by the Pegasus scandal, named after the Israeli spyware used by Morocco to spy on thousands of phones around the world, including that of French President Emmanuel Macron. Again, we understand how he got away with it.

In January 2022, Andréa Cozzolino was appointed to the European Parliament’s committee of inquiry into the scandal. An appointment that seems suspicious to the Belgian police, given that the Italian deputy was suspected of being in the pay of Morocco.

Of course, the main concern of Moroccans is Western Sahara. Their goal is that we don’t talk about it. Pierre Galand, former Belgian senator and former head of the NGO Oxfam-Belgium, tells how a Moroccan “journalist” tried to bribe him: “Tell us how much the Algerians give you and we will pay you double. “I told him to get the hell out of there immediately,” testifies the former parliamentarian.
By: Ryad Hamadi —