An Italian court on Tuesday again postponed a hearing on whether to extradite to Belgium a woman who is allegedly connected to the Qatar graft scandal that has rocked the European Parliament.
An appeals court in the northern city of Brescia initially put off deciding whether to extradite Silvia Panzeri after her attorneys argued that the request should be denied because of the overcrowding in Belgian jails.
The judges rescheduled the hearing for January 16 because they had not yet received the necessary instructions when it was called back up on Tuesday. The judges had enquired about Belgium’s prison system.
The former EU lawmaker Pier Antonio Panzeri, who Brussels prosecutors believe to be one of the key players in the alleged corruption, is related to the 38-year-old Panzeri. He claimed he didn’t do anything wrong.
The transfer of Maria Dolores Colleoni, the wife of Pier Antonio and mother of Silvia, to Brussels has already been approved by the same court with a different set of judges.
Colleoni, on the other hand, remains in Italy because her lawyers filed an appeal against her transfer with Italy’s highest appeals court, which is expected to rule in the coming days.
In accordance with a European arrest warrant issued by Belgian judges regarding Colleoni and Silvia Panzeri’s alleged “participation in a criminal organization, money laundering, and corruption,” Since December 10, they have been under house arrest in northern Italy. They have refuted being involved.
In one of the biggest scandals to rock the 27-nation bloc, Belgian prosecutors believe that Greek MEP Eva Kaili and other individuals accepted bribes from World Cup host Qatar in an effort to influence European Union policymaking.
Qatar has asserted that it had nothing to do with the EU scandal. Kaili has said she did nothing wrong.
On Tuesday, Silvia Panzeri’s attorney asked for the lifting of her house arrest, arguing that since she was an attorney in her own right, her clients were being harmed by the detention order.
According to excerpts from the arrest warrant obtained by Reuters, Panzeri was suspected of using funds from Qatar and Morocco to sway European Parliament employees, and his wife and daughter were informed of his schemes.
Requests for comments have received no response from Morocco.