HomeEuropeBelgian court withdraws Qatargate extradition request for Panzeri’s family

Belgian court withdraws Qatargate extradition request for Panzeri’s family

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The daughter and wife of former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri will remain under house arrest in Italy after a Belgian court withdrew its request for extradition relating to the Qatargate corruption case following a plea deal between the Belgian prosecution and the Italian politician, Corriere della Sera reported on Tuesday.

An Italian court had granted a request for extradition earlier this month.

Panzeri’s wife Maria Dolores Colleoni and daughter Silvia Panzeri were arrested on December 9 on their home turf of Lombardy as suspects in the sprawling Qatargate investigation, and have been under house arrest there since.

They are suspected of knowing about the former EU lawmaker’s alleged illegal activities involving spreading cash for influence to benefit Qatar and Morocco, notably through his nongovernmental organization Fight Impunity.

Last week, Panzeri cut a plea deal with the Belgian prosecutor, acknowledging he “participated in acts of corruption.” Panzeri vowed to provide more information in exchange for a reduced prison sentence and confiscation of €1 million — €600,000 of which was found by investigators in his Brussels home. Belgian press reported he admitted paying a six-figure bribe to Marc Tarabella, a Socialist MEP.

Michel Claise, the Belgian judge presiding over the investigation, is traveling to Milan on Wednesday to meet with Italian investigators, Corriere della Sera reported.

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