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Qatar: 'Giorgi paid by Doha through Algerian', media

Evidence on bribes for 'several millions'- Belgian investigators

21 December, 13:09

    (ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS, DECEMBER 21 - Francesco Giorgi, the parliamentary assistant involved in an investigation carried out by Belgian prosecutors in Brussels on the so-called 'Qatargate' scandal, told federal police and Belgian magistrate Michel Claise that Qatar paid bribes through an "Algerian" contact, Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano reported on Wednesday, quoting three long court documents. Giorgi also reportedly spoke about a mechanism allegedly used by Morocco to pay bribes, about a meeting with Saudi officials, of another NGO involved to finance Fight Impunity, the Human Rights Foundation, and claimed that his partner, Greek MEP Eva Kaili, "wasn't part of the network", although she knew about the money, the daily wrote. In addition to the court papers, the newspaper also quoted information provided by Belgian secret services that originally led to the investigation, mentioning a business worth "several million euros".

    Speaking about how bribes were allegedly paid by Qatar, Il Fatto Quotidiano said Giorgi told investigators that he received a contact from an "Algerian". "He works for the government of Qatar and is called Boudjellal. He put me in contact with a person in Turkey, I think he was of Palestinian origin", Giorgi reportedly said. The latter gave him a phone number in Belgium: "I was supposed to call him to have the money", he reportedly said. The contact was always different. "Each time, I cancelled the numbers so I wouldn't leave any evidence behind". "The total changed, it is difficult for me to estimate it, they decided", said Giorgi of the money, explaining that these contacts occurred "two or three times a year".

    For Morocco, instead, bribes were allegedly paid in cash by Abderrahim Atmoun, Rabat's ambassador to Poland, according to the report. "He brought the money occasionally, not in a regular way", he noted adding the sums allegedly totalled "a few tens of thousands of euros. I think the total estimate is 50,000 euros", said Giorgi. "Atmoun came to Brussels, or we went to Paris, to his place, his apartment. When we went to get money, we said that we were going to get ties or clothes". The parliamentary assistant also reportedly claimed that Morocco offered more: "In December, Atmoun wanted to pay a trip to Marrakesh for me, for (Italian former MEP) Panzeri and our respective families". "I hesitated a little at the beginning, then I said yes. We had also spoken about Eva's sister and brother-in-law, but in the end they didn't accept".

    Giorgi also reportedly spoke about an alleged agreement, for smaller sums, with Mauritania, which had "problems" with its image. "I rented my apartment to the ambassador and that was my compensation: 1,500 euros + 300 of expenses. Panzeri took 25,000 in cash". "We went to the embassy of Mauritania a week ago and we met with their ambassador and the Saudi one, who wanted information on what was being said in the European Parliament about his country".(ANSAmed).

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