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Qatargate: Italian court rules Panzeri’s daughter can be extradited

by editor

ROME — An Italian court ruled Monday that the daughter of former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri can be extradited to Belgium for charges in the alleged Qatar corruption investigation engulfing the European Parliament.

Silvia Panzeri was arrested in Bergamo, northern Italy, in December, along with her mother, Maria Dolores Colleoni, accused of corruption, money laundering and criminal association. Her father’s NGO, Fight Impunity, is among the groups at the center of the so-called Qatargate allegations, and he was arrested in Belgium.

Belgian authorities believe Silvia Panzeri was aware of her father’s alleged activities, according to a warrant seen by POLITICO. She denies the accusation, according to her lawyer.

Prosecutors in Brussels had requested the extradition of Panzeri and her mother. Her lawyers Angelo De Riso and Nicola Colli argued that sending her to Belgium where she would be held in jail rather than under house arrest would violate her human rights, and raised questions about conditions in Belgian prisons.

But after three hours of proceedings, the judges in Brescia, near Milan, rejected these arguments and approved the Belgian extradition request. Panzeri will not be sent to Belgium immediately, but has five days to lodge an appeal. Her mother’s appeal against extradition will be heard on January 31.

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