With the “Qatargate” investigation into alleged bribery and corruption in the European halls of power entering its 13-month, it appears some feel the case is fraying at the seams.
Andrea Orlando, who led the Italian justice system between 2014 and 2018, is questioning the methods used by Belgian investigators and Belgian justice agencies. He said he believed the case revealed a lack of “proper control”.
Orlando, a member of Italy’s left-wing Democratic Party, has already questioned the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani, and the current Minister of Justice, Carlo Nordio, over the operation in the country’s Parliament.
With several Qatargate suspects being Italian, Orlando is demanding more information on the treatment of his countrymen.
He wants his Government to take “the initiative, within its competence, both at the international and European levels, to ensure that judicial procedures take place in full respect of the principles referred to in Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union and the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Convention on Human Rights”.
Orlando has listed several articles in his country’s Constitution that he said would have been violated following the Belgian investigation into Qatargate.
The Italian deputy mentions, among other things, the wiretapping of people with parliamentary immunity, which is against the rules.
That all comes as Eva Kaili, one of the primary Qatargate suspects, has been gaining attention with references to what she termed “Belgiumgate”.
— Eva Kaili (@EvaKaili) January 9, 2024
Elsewhere, former Qatargate lead investigative judge Michel Claise has made a surprising announcement; he says he will run in the next parliamentary elections in Belgium.
Claise had to recuse himself from the case due to his close ties with Belgian MEP Marie Arena, who often appears in Qatargate coverage but has never been questioned and is not seen as a suspect.
He will run for Défi, a regional party that defends the rights of French-speakers in Flemish municipalities who are unwilling to speak Dutch.
Claise names the late Belgian Socialist statesman Paul-Henri Spaak, a leader in the formation of the European Union, as his main inspiration.
#Qatargate former prosecutor Michel Claise announces political campaign for #euelections2024 with Belgium's centrist Défi party.
The former judge will hv a lot of explaining to do over his extremely obscure handling of the high-profile case.#Belgiumgate ?https://t.co/YrJlxIN3Gk
— Yannis Koutsomitis (@YanniKouts) January 9, 2024