Accountant of ‘Catargate’ Ringleader Arrested in Milan
Former Northern Italian MEP is Arrested at Milan Court of Appeals
Monica Rossana Bellini, an accountant suspected of conspiracy, corruption and money laundering related to Qatar, Morocco and Mauritania, was arrested today in Milan (northern Italy) after the execution of a European arrest warrant issued by Belgian magistrates.
The Italian Finance Guard (financial police) conducted the arrest as per the orders of the Milan Court of Appeal. The court will have to decide on the delivery of the woman, who is charged with the same charges as the other detainees in the Belgian investigation.
On January 16, the court of appeal in Brescia (northern Italy) approved the extradition to Belgium of Silvia Panzeri, the daughter of the former MEP. Although, the sentence may be appealed. This was the case with the politician’s wife, Maria Colleoni, whose extradition was approved in December but was impeded after her lawyers alleged overcrowding problems in Belgian prisons.
However, Panzeri agreed on Tuesday to collaborate in the Belgian judicial investigation as “repentant” in exchange for reducing his sentence. A limited penalty has been provided for the politician which includes imprisonment, a fine, and the confiscation of all assets acquired worth one million euros.
The sentencing and repatriation are still subject to appeal, yet the Italian and Belgian agencies have been successful in arresting the suspect and continuing their investigation.