It is well known that the Emirate of Qatar is engaged in intensive lobbying in Europe and that Brussels, as the seat of the EU institutions and NATO, is a haven for lobbying. Now, however, the Belgian public prosecutor's office allegedly suspects that the host country of the current World Cup wanted to influence decisions in the heart of the European Union - in the European Parliament - in a criminal way. The public prosecutor's office on Friday confirmed corruption investigations against a "Gulf state", but the Belgian newspaper Le Soir and the Belgian magazine Knack say they have conclusive evidence from several sources that it is Qatar.
Police said they arrested four people and conducted 16 house searches in Brussels today in connection with the investigation. According to reports in the two Belgian media, all those arrested are of Italian origin. They are an Italian Social Democrat who was a member of the EU Parliament from 2004 to 2019, a senior trade union official with worldwide connections, the director of a non-governmental organisation and an assistant working in the European Parliament. All four had been active in human rights organisations, it said. They were to be questioned on Friday, after which they might be brought before a magistrate.
Knack: WK Qatar: 16 huiszoekingen in onderzoek naar corruptie in het Europees Parlement
Le Soir: Soupçons de corruption du Qatar : la vice-présidente du Parlement européen Eva Kaili interpellée