Qatar reiterates its denial of any involvement in EU corruption case

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Qatar reiterated on Sunday (18 December 2022) that the country denies any involvement in a corruption case being investigated by Belgian authorities involving people linked to the European Parliament.

Belgian authorities have charged four people linked to the European Parliament over allegations World Cup host Qatar lavished them with cash and gifts to influence decision-making. Qatar has previously denied any wrongdoing.

A statement on Sunday by a diplomat from Qatar’s mission to the European Union said “preconceived prejudices” led the parliament to vote on Thursday (15 December 2022) to suspend all work on legislation involving Qatar and to bar Qatari representatives from its premises.

The suspension affects legislation linked to visa liberalisation, an EU-Qatar aviation agreement and planned visits until the allegations have been confirmed or dismissed.

The diplomat says, “The decision to impose such a discriminatory restriction…will negatively affect regional and global security cooperation, as well as on-going discussions around global energy poverty and security.”

Qatar had been “exclusively criticised and attacked” in the investigation and was deeply disappointed that the Belgian government “made no effort to engage with our government to establish the facts” the statement says.

A spokesperson for the Belgian Justice Ministry did not immediately comment on this.

On Wednesday (14 December 2022), the ministry said its intelligence service worked closely with other European countries for more than a year to uncover the graft scandal.