Qatar spied on former federal prosecutor

A room stuffed with microphones for an interview considered major, this is the story of this Sunday morning in the NZZ am Sonntag. The newspaper claims that Qatar spied on former federal attorney general Michael Lauber.

On June 16, 2017, Michael Lauber, who was in charge of investigating irregularities in the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, met with FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the Hotel Schweizerhof in Bern in a room equipped with microphones. Agents mandated by Qatar carried out this espionage operation.

Fearing that the World Cup would be withdrawn due to criticism of the human rights situation in the country, the kingdom hired an American intelligence operations company for several years, the newspaper summarizes. Its aim was to influence FIFA policy. The World Cup was awarded on December 2, 2010.

The Brussels branch of these ramifications

On February 11, MEP Marc Tarabella was charged and placed in pre-trial detention on Saturday in the investigation carried out in Belgium on suspicion of interference by Qatar and Morocco in the European Parliament.

Three other people, including Greek MEP Eva Kaili, are already imprisoned in this scandal which broke out on December 9 and led to a wave of arrests in Brussels. That day, Belgian investigators got their hands on around 1.5 million euros in cash in bags or suitcases discovered in particular at the Brussels homes of Ms. Kaili and Pier Antonio Panzeri, also imprisoned. The latter, a former socialist MEP (2004-2019) who became an NGO leader in Brussels, admitted in January to investigators that he had orchestrated this fraud.

This week-end, surveys by Radio France channels provided some details on the lobbying mechanisms conducted in particular by Moroccan agents. They specify in particular the circuits of the money, passing in particular by an association directed by Pier Antonio Panzeri. An investigation quotes the Belgian intelligence services, according to which “there exists within the European institutions a network involving a lobbyist, several European parliamentarians and parliamentary assistants [qui] work clandestinely in order to influence the decisions of the institutions of the European Union in favor of Morocco on the one hand and Qatar on the other.

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