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Politics Monitor

Belgian Judge Sidelined in MEP Corruption Scandal

A dramatic change in the judicial treatment of alleged corruption of MEPs in connection with the Marocgate and Qatargate scandals. The Belgian investigating judge in charge of the case, Michel Claise, was forced, on Thursday, to withdraw, temporarily, from the continuation of the investigations started with the defendants and their defenses because of a challenge on the part of the lawyer for the Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella, charged and imprisoned by the investigating judge.

The announcement of the temporary sidelining of the investigating judge in accordance with article 828 of the judicial code was decided on Thursday during a hearing in Brussels before a court responsible for ruling on the extension of the provisional detention of the Belgian MEP.

The cases of recusal of the examining magistrate defined by the article in question of the judicial code of the Kingdom of Belgium range from legitimate suspicion, to the personal interest of the judge or one of his relatives in the case, to enmity capital for one of the parties and other grievances likely to justify the accusation of partiality of the judge in the instruction of a judicial file.

The plaintiff, the lawyer for the Belgian MEP, Marc Tarabella – the last defendant to fall into the net of Belgian justice and whose name was swung by the former Italian MEP Pier Antonion Panzeri, centerpiece of the network of corruption of MEPs -, did not reveal, at the hearing, the reason for the challenge of the Belgian judge.

Which has shaken the European Parliament by its courage and its decisions to track down corruptors regardless of their functions within the European Parliament and the political interests at stake, in terms of relations between the European Union and the corrupting States involved. In total, five MEPs are the subject of legal proceedings for corruption and who are imprisoned.

They are the Greek MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament Eva Kaili, the first to be imprisoned for more than two months already, followed by her companion and parliamentary assistant Francesco Giorgi, Antonio Panzeri and the last of the tape Italian MEP Andréa Cozzolino arrested and placed under house arrest in Italy last weekend, pending the examination of the arrest warrant issued against him by the Belgian courts.

The magistrate pushed towards the exit door?

The Belgian investigating judge in charge of the “Marocgate” corruption case is not only interested in MEPs who received bribes from the Kingdom of Morocco in return for their collaboration and servility in influencing the European Parliament votes on economic and trade issues linking Rabat to the EU, human rights violations in Morocco and the conflict in Western Sahara. He also has in his sights the parties outside the European community, involved in this vast network of corruption of MEPs. It is in this context that the arrest warrants in France issued last week against the Moroccan ambassador to Poland and president of the Morocco-EU joint parliamentary committee between 2011 and 2019, in charge of hand over the briefcases of money to the MEPs, as well as the head of the Moroccan intelligence services of the DGED Yacine Mansouri, and Mohamed Belahrach. These key elements who set up and coordinated the network of corruption of MEPs demanded by Belgian justice risk being arrested if they were to land in France where their children are educated. We have seen how the makhzen reacted when he saw the noose tightening against him. The Moroccan Parliament, meeting in its two Chambers, had threatened to review its relations with the European Parliament following the vote of a resolution by MEPs denouncing violations of human rights and freedom of the press in the Moroccan kingdom. and the interference of Morocco in the functioning of the European Parliament. Bilateral relations between Morocco and France were heavily impacted by the Marocgate scandal; Rabat has decided in retaliation to freeze all official visits by French delegations planned to Morocco for the next few weeks. We can also expect similar actions against the Kingdom of Belgium to mark its dissatisfaction with the damage caused by the Marocgate scandal brought to light by the Belgian courts.

All these developments which have followed one another over the past few days, undermining the Makhzen which has tried by political one-upmanship to light, without success, backfires, do they have a link with the unexpected decision to challenge the Belgian judge by whom the Marocgate scandal happened? Given the shock wave caused by this scandal in relations between Morocco and the EU, it was foreseeable that the strategic allies of the Makhzen, the Zionist entity which has proven its lobbying capacities, the United States.

This article is originally published on elwatan-dz.com

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