Corruption in the European Parliament : Belgium drops allegations of Morocco's involvement

From left to right: Abderrahim Atmoun, Pier Antonio Panzeri, and Francesco Giorgi, on May 9, 2017 / DR
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After more than a year of investigation into alleged Moroccan interference in the European Parliament, «the Belgian justice has dropped the Moroccan aspect of the 'Qatargate' investigation», revealed on Saturday, June 15, the daily Le Soir.

The newspaper claims that Brussels «left it to Rabat to judge its two nationals involved in the corruption and interference scandal in the European Parliament». Le Soir cites the names «of Abderrahim Atmoun, currently ambassador of the Cherifian kingdom in Poland, and Mohamed Belharache, an officer of the Moroccan external intelligence service (DGED)».

As a reminder, in May 2023, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita had described the investigation into the corruption scandal shaking the European Parliament as «continuous judicial and media harassment» aimed at «harming» the bilateral partnership between Morocco and the EU.

The European Parliament had adopted, on July 13, 2023, a resolution including Morocco in the list of countries that interfere in the affairs of EU member states, alongside «Qatar, China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia, and Turkey». MEPs had then considered that «the suspicions of corruption related to Qatar and Morocco go beyond the Parliament and also involve other Union institutions, as well as national political leaders and influential personalities in certain member states».

This new development in the investigation into the alleged involvement of Morocco in the corruption scandal in the EP comes a week after the European elections on June 9, which saw a meteoric rise of far-right parties.

On May 10, RTBF announced that the Brussels public prosecutor's office «has opened a judicial inquiry into possible Moroccan interference in Belgium».

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