The investigation centres around allegations that the Qatari government paid MEPs and their staff in order to buy influence at the European Parliament. Previously the European Parliament’s Greek Vice-President Eva Kaili was also caught red-handed taking bribes and was arrested.
On Friday the Belgian police carried out raids at serveral locations in Brussels as part of a large-scale corruption investigation into Qatari economic and political interference in the European Parliament. Five people were arrested, and the offices of three MEPs were sealed. According to Le Soir and Knack, these are the offices of employees Eva Kaili and the Belgian MEPs Marie Arena and Marc Tarabella. However, this has not yet been confirmed by the prosecutor's office. During the searches, 600,000 euros in cash were also seized.
Two Belgian MEPs
Marie Arena and Marc Tabarella are both MEPs for the French-speaking socialist party Parti Socialiste. Ms Arena was the Federal Minister of Social Integration, Large Cities and Pensions until 2009. She has responded by saying that the investigation has no direct link with her position as a member of the European Parliament, but with her relationship with an NGO.
"I was there when the seals were placed at my assistant's office,"Ms Arena said. "The fact that they sealed the office has nothing to do with my work as an MEP." The office of Marc Tarabella's assistants was also sealed, but he could not be reached for comment.
Earlier, the Vice-President of the European Parliament Eva Kaili was also arrested for questioning.