Pier Antonio Panzeri, a former Italian EU lawmaker detained in the European Parliament corruption probe, has struck a plea deal with the Belgian prosecutor to exchange information about bribes he made in exchange for a reduced sentence.
According to a press release from the Belgian prosecutor, Panzeri will inform investigators of key details in the ongoing probe into whether foreign countries, including Qatar, illegally influenced the Parliament’s work. Panzeri will hand over information on financial arrangements, the countries involved, who benefited and who was involved.
Notably, Panzeri has also agreed to disclose who he admits to having bribed, the prosecutor said.
In exchange for collaborating, Panzeri will receive a limited sentence, including jail time, a fine and confiscation of assets he acquired as part of the scheme, estimated at €1 million.
It’s only the second instance that Belgium has invoked the use of the so-called “repentants” statute since it was created in 2018.
Earlier on Tuesday, it became clear that Panzeri would remain in jail after a court appearance to address his appeal of provisional detention. Panzeri never appeared in court, as he decided to withdraw his appeal altogether.
In December, Panzeri was hit with preliminary charges of participating in a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption. Panzeri’s detention was first confirmed on December 14. His appeal hearing was initially planned for December 27 but was rescheduled at Panzeri’s own request.
Additionally, an Italian court ruled on Monday that the former MEP’s daughter, Silvia Panzeri, could be extradited to Belgium. Belgian authorities believe she was aware of her father’s allegedly illegal activities, according to a warrant seen by POLITICO. She denies the accusation, according to her lawyer.