Former European Parliament member to give details in bribery scandal

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Jan. 17 (UPI) — Former European Parliament member Pier Antonio Panzeri said on Tuesday he will work with prosecutors investigating an alleged bribery scheme.

Panzeri agreed to offer “revealing, truthful and complete statements” about third parties involved in the scandal as well as his own involvement “if applicable” in exchange for a possible reduced prison sentence, Belgium’s federal prosecutor said.

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Prosecutors accuse Panzeri of accepting money from the governments of Qatar and Morocco in exchange for influencing decisions in the parliament.

Panzeri, who served in the European Parliament from 2004-2019, is charged along with three others for money laundering, corruption and participating in a criminal organization after police found nearly $1.62 million in bags of cash at several locations around Brussels, including Panzeri’s home.

The Belgian prosecutor said in its ongoing investigation that Panzeri will tell detectives details showing if foreign countries, including Qatar, illegally influenced the parliament’s work, how the bribery scheme operated and who was involved.

He is also expected to turn over financial documents connected with his arrangements with those countries and who directly benefited.

Panzeri also agreed to admit to bribery, pay a fine and forfeit the assets he obtained, said to total more than $1 million.

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An Italian court ruled on Monday that the Panzeri’s daughter Silvia Panzeri could be extradited to Belgium because she allegedly knew of her father’s activities. She has denied the allegations.

The scandal also ensnared Eva Kaili, a Greek legislator, who at the time served as the European Parliament’s vice president.

Kaili was removed from her European Parliament post in December after being arrested in connection with the scheme.