Italian justice gives the green light to the extradition of the wife of the key figure of Qatargate in Belgium | Abroad
A court in Brescia, Italy, on Monday authorized the extradition to Belgium of Maria Dolores Colleoni, the wife of former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri. The woman, like her husband and their daughter Silvia Panzeri, is one of the suspects of the so-called “Qatargate”.
Several MEPs from the social-democratic S&D group are suspected of having allowed themselves to be corrupted by Qatar, which would have wanted to influence European decision-making in this way. The European Parliament has been rocked by the corruption case since last week.
Former Italian MEP Panzeri is said to play a central role in the scandal. During home searches in Belgium and abroad, at least 1.5 million euros in cash were seized last week. Much of it was found in Panzeri.
The now deposed Greek vice-president, Eva Kaili, is also a prime suspect. His father was caught in the act with hundreds of thousands of euros in cash. His companion Francesco Giorgi has since made a confession.
Panzeri’s 38-year-old daughter and his 67-year-old wife, who live near Bergamo, were also said to have known about the bribe. For example, they communicated with each other about how the money was being spent and whether there would be any expensive holidays during the Christmas break this year. Colleoni, like her daughter, has been under house arrest in Italy for more than a week, following a European arrest warrant issued by Belgian magistrates.
On Monday, the Brescia court therefore ruled that there was no reason not to extradite Colleoni to Belgium. His lawyers have had five days to appeal the decision. Colleoni denied the allegations, according to her lawyer, insisting in court that she knew nothing of her husband’s business dealings.
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