Agencies – Now new reports emerged today confirm that money found with former MEP Antonio Panzeri and his partners including Franchico Georgio was paid by both Morocco and Mauritania via their ambassadors and agents in Brussels.
The bribery scheme surrounding the European Parliament and which until now was linked to Qatar and Morocco has operated at least since 2018 and also included Mauritania, the Belgian newspaper Le Soir reported on Wednesday, quoted by EFE.
The mastermind of the operation, currently in custody, the former Italian socialist deputy Pier Antonio Panzeri, received 25,000 euros from this country, according to excerpts from the statement made to the authorities by another defendant, Francesco Giorgi, who is also in pretrial detention. They appeared to receive cash form many countries including now Mauritania.
In addition to the money for Panzeri, the Mauritanian ambassador in Brussels paid the rent of an apartment in Brussels to Giorgi – the partner of the Greek socialist MEP Eva Kaili, former vice-president of the EP – who was also Panzeri’s employee as a parliamentary assistant, until Panzeri term ended in 2019.
Panzeri, who according to confessions that reached the press admitted that he would have lobbied for Qatar next to Morocco in exchange for money, stated that he had only done this since the end of 2019, that is, since he was no longer a member of the European Parliament, and that he would received only 50,000 euros.
However, the issue also extends to Morocco and Mauritania. According to the words attributed to Panzeri by “Le Soir”, the agreement with Morocco began “after 2019” and provided for an intervention by the former MEP to prevent some resolutions considered inconvenient by the North African country’s authorities from being approved. For this intervention, according to what was stated, “50 thousand euros” would have been requested in exchange. Finally, in this case Giorgi would have stated, work would have been done for Mauritania, a country with “an image problem” and which would have required the intervention of Panzeri and Giorgi.
In this case, reports “Le Soir”, the former MEP would have obtained around 25 euros to improve the country’s image, while his assistant would have rented an apartment to the Mauritanian ambassador in Brussels: the payment of the rent would have been, then, the balance for the activities carried out by the two in favor of Mauritania. Giorgi, however, continues to exculpate Eva Kaili, his partner and former vice president of the EU Parliament: according to Panzeri’s former assistant, in fact, Greek politics would have been aware of the origin of this money but would not have actively participated in the activities carried out in favor of these countries.