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The “Maroc-Gate” scandal haunts Moroccan diplomats


The European Parliament adopted a recommendation to prevent representatives of the Moroccan state from entering its headquarters in the European capital, Brussels, until the completion of the investigation into the case of the Kingdom of Morocco’s involvement in the corruption scandal that rocked the European legislature.

The European Parliament voted on a resolution on “follow-up measures to strengthen the integrity of European institutions” that calls for preventing representatives of the Moroccan state from entering the body.

The new recommendation, which was presented in a plenary session last Thursday, was approved by the majority of European representatives, as 401 parliamentarians voted for it, and only three deputies objected to it, while 133 others abstained from voting.

The new recommendation, made by five parliamentary groups representing the left, the right, the Greens and the Socialists, urges the European Parliament to take measures to enhance the integrity of the European legislative institution.

This recommendation comes after the decision of the European Parliament last January to cancel the upcoming missions to Morocco due to the bribery scandal known in the media as “Maroc Gate”.

The French newspaper “Le Figaro” recently revealed that the Belgian justice had transferred to the French authorities arrest warrants against several Moroccan officials, against the background of the investigation conducted by the Belgian judiciary into the largest corruption scandal that rocked the European Parliament, which erupted last December.

The French newspaper quoted a diplomatic source as saying that several Moroccan politicians, who have children studying in France, face arrest on French soil as soon as they get off the plane, according to arrest warrants issued by the Belgian justice.

The Belgian judiciary continues its investigations into the corruption case in the European Parliament, as many evidence leaked from the investigations and published by major international newspapers confirm that Morocco paid bribes to European deputies to serve its interests, and in order to obtain decisions in its favor, especially with regard to the violation of human rights and the issue of Western Sahara.

The raids carried out by the Belgian security forces since the scandal erupted resulted in the confiscation of approximately 1.5 million euros in cash and a campaign of arrests involving the most prominent figures accused in the case.

And last January, the former Italian member of the European Parliament and the main suspect in the case, Pier Antonio Panziri, announced the conclusion of an agreement with the Belgian authorities, through which he promised to reveal the details of his participation in the corruption scandal that shook the pillars of the continental institution, behind which was the Moroccan warehouse system.

Panziri admitted his active participation in the corruption case and obtaining gifts through the current Moroccan ambassador to Poland, Abd al-Rahim Othmoun, head of the joint parliamentary committee between Morocco and the European Union from 2011 to 2019.

Other Moroccan names were also mentioned, such as the head of the General Department for Studies and Documents, Yassin Al-Mansouri, and Mohamed Belharch, whose name was mentioned in at least two Moroccan-European cases of espionage a few years ago.

Source: El-massa