After Qatar, Morocco is suspected of corrupting members of the European Parliament

After Qatar, Morocco is suspected of corrupting members of the European Parliament

The European Parliament has been caught up in a storm after its vice-president and three other people were imprisoned on charges of corruption and money laundering in connection with Qatar. Morocco could also have bribed elected officials.

After Qatar and Morocco? While revelations of a possible corruption case involving members of the European Parliament and Qatar continue to shake the European Parliament, another country has its doubts. This is Morocco who could also be implicated in this scandal.

A “very strong bond” between an Italian member of parliament and Morocco

The link between Qatar and Morocco is Antonio Panzeri, the former Italian member of parliament, who is currently imprisoned in Brussels in the “Qatargate” case. In a confidential 2011 memo obtained by BFMTV, the Moroccan ambassador raised the issue of Western Sahara. This area illegally occupied by Rabat will be the subject of a “strong request from the European Parliament”.

“The best way to deal with this pressure is to pass it through Antonio Panziri. In this regard, Antonio Panziri has begun systematic work since his election as head of the Maghreb delegation,” the ambassador reassured.

For ten years, the Middle East Party then continued to regularly defend Morocco’s interests within the European establishment. Ana Gomez, a former member of the European Parliament, claims to have witnessed these practices firsthand.

“Mr. Panzieri’s commitment to defending Morocco’s point of view, to countering the campaign for human rights (…) made me suspect a very strong relationship with Morocco,” assesses BFMTV, a former Portuguese member of parliament.

700,000 euros in cash was found

Several elements support the European Parliament’s suspicions of corruption. On the one hand, during the search of his home in Brussels, the police obtained 700,000 euros in cash. A large part comes from Morocco, according to the confessions of an aide to the European Parliament, Francesco Giorgi.

READ  DONALD TRUMP: This is the amount that the former president is said to have earned during his tenure

In addition, the wiretap of Antonio Panzieri’s wife shows that she received money from Rabat thanks to Abderrahim Atmon. A great friend of the Italian, at that time a parliamentarian and now the ambassador of Morocco to Poland.

French advisor to the King of Morocco?

Apart from Antonio Panzieri, other members of the European Parliament maintained close relations with Morocco. One of them is French, the socialist Gilles Parnot in the European Parliament until 2019.

Gilles Parneau at night in 2015
Gilles Parneau at night in 2015 © PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP

The head of the European-Moroccan Friendship Group doubled the number of trips paid by Morocco, which other deputies called for. Pictures on his Facebook account show the deputy receiving gifts.

“It was really embarrassing, because he was not ashamed to present himself in Parliament as an advisor to His Majesty (Morocco),” when he was a member of the European Parliament, Ana Gomez points out. “He was always defending Morocco’s positions,” she added.

Gifts and honors

Gilles Parneau has repeatedly received accolades from the Moroccan authorities, in particular from Western Sahara, who have publicly thanked him for his services to the EU-Morocco Friendship Group.

“It is a distinction that shows the interest that His Majesty the King attaches first and foremost to parliamentary work and to the work of this wonderful team that defends our vital interests before international bodies,” His Majesty’s advisor Mohamed Cheikh Biadillah told Moroccan television. of the King of Morocco during one of these ceremonies.

After leaving the European Parliament in 2019, Gilles Parneau has maintained ties with Morocco, since he founded an NGO with Mohamed Cheikh Biedallah. He also works for a lobbying firm in Brussels whose main client is Morocco.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *