Qatargate: Lead suspect Panzeri to be released from jail with electronic tag

Qatargate: Lead suspect Panzeri to be released from jail with electronic tag
Опубликовано: Thursday, 06 April 2023 16:25

Former MEP had struck a plea deal in January and will now be placed on house arrest.

BRUSSELS — Pier Antonio Panzeri, the lead suspect in the so-called Qatargate corruption probe, is moving from jail to house arrest with an electronic monitor pending trial, his lawyer confirmed to POLITICO.

The move comes after Panzeri struck a plea deal with Belgian investigators in January, admitting guilt and agreeing to share information about whom he bribed, in exchange for a reduced sentence. He was among the first to be arrested in the sprawling probe and is suspected of being the ringleader in a scheme where foreign countries, including Qatar, allegedly worked to influence the European Parliament through cash payments and perks.

Panzeri’s lawyer, Laurent Kennes, told POLITICO that the former Italian MEP will be now detained at home, confirming a prior report by Belgian newspaper Le Soir. It’s not clear when exactly Panzeri will leave jail, but it would probably take place in the next couple of days, Kennes added.

“It is normal for a person who collaborates to benefit from the electronic bracelet,” Kennes said. “It’s a difficult detention for the moment and it will still be difficult at home. He is not free to move.”

Kennes added that Panzeri’s provisional detention will again be assessed in two months.

Barbara Moens and Pieter Haeck contributed reporting.

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