In the EU corruption scandal, the alleged mastermind Pier Antonio Panzeri has promised extensive cooperation with the Belgian judiciary. As the responsible public prosecutor's office in Brussels announced, the former MEP signed a corresponding agreement on Tuesday. In return, his sentence will be reduced.
The Italian Panzeri is considered a key figure in the scandal that Belgian investigators uncovered in December. It is about alleged influence from Qatar and Morocco on political decisions of the European Parliament. Panzeri is one of several suspects who are in custody. They are charged with involvement in a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption. Among those arrested is the former Vice President of the European Parliament, Eva Kaili. She is scheduled to be heard again by the magistrate this Thursday.
According to prosecutors, Panzeri signed the agreement on Tuesday in the presence of his lawyer. The authority spoke of one of the “key figures” in the case. Panzeri has undertaken to provide the investigators with comprehensive insights into the criminal structures. According to the information, this includes the names of those who were bribed, the promised benefits and financial arrangements with other countries. In return, he only has to spend a short time in prison and pay a fine. In addition, his entire acquired assets, which are currently estimated at one million euros, are to be confiscated.
The public prosecutor's office had previously announced on Tuesday that Panzeri had withdrawn his appeal against the pre-trial detention imposed in December. Panzeri sat for the Social Democrats in the European Parliament from 2004 to 2019. Most recently, he headed the non-governmental organization Fight Impunity, which is also the focus of Belgian investigators.