Rome, 28 Feb. The defense of Italian MEP Andrea Cozzolino, under house arrest in Naples (southern Italy) for his alleged involvement in the plot of alleged bribes from Qatar and Morocco in the European Parliament, known as “Catargate”, wondered today about the ability of Belgian justice to guarantee him a fair trial for having given credit to the “inventions” of his accuser, Pier Antonio Panzeri.
The latest media reports “make us rightly doubt that the Belgian courts can guarantee Cozzolino a fair trial”, Italian lawyers Federico Conte and Dezio Ferraro said as they entered the Neapolitan court where the decision is expected today. today on the request for the extradition of the Italian MEP.
The 60-year-old Social Democratic politician was arrested on the 9th in Naples under a European arrest warrant from the Belgian court investigating Catargate, in which Panzeri is also accused, considered to be the ringleader of the plot of alleged corruption, but that he agreed to collaborate in the Belgian judicial inquiry as a “repentant” in exchange for a reduction of his sentence.
“We have learned, once again from the newspapers, statements by Antonio Panzeri that would implicate, among others, Andrea Cozzolino, with an imaginative and gassy story, typical of those who know nothing and invent the incredible to obtain the benefits promised and obtained,” explained the lawyers in a press release sent to the media.
According to him, “this is the dark side of self-interested repentance, but the most striking thing is that one gives so much credit to one’s words, in the absence of external elements to corroborate them”.
The defenders are astonished that the statements of Panzieri took place after the arrest of his client, “without there being any evidence against him”, and that they were disseminated by the press “violating the secrecy of the procedure”.
“An increasingly opaque scenario, behind which a parallel and underground foreign policy game is being played out on the role of the European institutions, and against the background of which the action of the secret services continues to be planned, which makes us rightly doubt title that Belgian justice can guarantee Cozzolino a fair trial,” they concluded.
The European Parliament has lifted the immunity of Cozzolino, who was until January president of the parliamentary delegation for relations with Morocco, formerly chaired by Panzeri, as well as Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella, also suspected of being involved .
The scandal erupted last December and first affected the vice-president of the institution and Greek social democrat Eva Kaili, arrested in flagrante delicto and charged from the moment of the revelations and the arrests. EFE