French leftist party La France Insoumise Euro Deputy Manon Aubry uses her mobile phone as she takes part in a vote on a request for waiver of the immunity of MPs Marc Tarabella of Belgium and Italian Andrea Cozzolino's as part of a probe into alleged bribery by Qatar and Morocco during a session at EU Parliament in Brussels on Feb 2, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)
BRUSSELS — The European Parliament (EP) on Thursday voted to waive the immunity of two lawmakers following a request from Belgian judicial authorities investigating a major corruption scandal rocking the European Union (EU) assembly.
The EP said that its members had backed the decision to waive the immunities of Italian Member of Parliament (MEP) Andrea Cozzolino and Belgian lawmaker Marc Tarabella.
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola started the procedure on Jan 16 after receiving requests from the competent authorities in Belgium
By a show of hands, MEPs endorsed the proposal adopted by the Legal Affairs Committee on Tuesday.
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Once the decision is formally communicated to both MEPs and the requesting authorities, the procedure to strip the two members of their parliamentary immunity would have been completed.
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola started the procedure on Jan 16 after receiving requests from the competent authorities in Belgium as part of an inquiry by the Belgian Federal Public Prosecutor's Office.
Cozzolino and Tarabella have denied wrongdoing and self-suspended their membership of Parliament's Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group.
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Eva Kaili, who was stripped of her role as EP vice president, has already been charged over the alleged bribery scandal. Prosecutors accuse the Greek Socialist MEP of corruption, membership in a criminal organization and money laundering.