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Four Italians probed for 'Qatar EP influence peddling'

Ex-MEP Panzeri,world labour chief Visentini arrested in Brussels

(ANSA) - ROME, DEC 9 - Four Italians including a leftwing former MEP and the current head of the International Trade Union Confederation ITUC were arrested Friday in a probe into alleged illicit lobbying by Qatar to allegedly influence the political and economic decisions of the European Parliament, Belgian daily Le Soir reported.
    The former member of the parliament, 67-year-old leftwing Article One party member Antonio Panzeri, and 53-year-old ITUC Secretary-General Luca Visentini were among those arrested in Brussels Friday, the daily said.
    As part of the probe, Le Soir said, Brussels police carried out 14 searches and they reportedly found half a million euros in cash in Panzeri's house there.
    The other two Italians arrested are a director of an NGO and a parliamentary aide, the newspaper reported.
    Panzeri and Visentini are well-known figures in Brussels circles.
    Panzeri,a member of the directorate of the Socialists and Democrats alliance, the oldest European caucus, served as an MEP for three terms from 2004 to 2019. serving as chair of the subcommittee on human rights.
    Visentini has been a leading figure for European trade unions for years.
    He started his career for UIL in Friuli and was elected federal secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) in March 2011, going on to be elected secretary general in 2015, a post confirmed in 2019.
    He became head of ITUC, the world's largest organized labour group, at a congress in Melbourne at the end of last month.
    photo: Panzeri (ANSA).


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