By Le Soir – June 2022. Maria Colleoni (67), Panzeri’s wife, is visiting Morocco. She was received by Abderrahim Atmoun, ambassador of the Cherifian kingdom in Poland and alleged funder of these actions of interference. Maria Colleoni calls her husband, the conversation is recorded in a report by the Security.
“Everything went well, we were treated like VIPs,” rejoices the wife. “We went for a coffee at Atmoun’s. ”
Antonio is worried: did she “seen the boxes”? She immediately reassures him: their friend the ambassador, she assures, took two of these boxes, opened them and quickly showed the content. Then “he took a few products, threw them in the bag, “says that it’s a gift from Atmoun”. ”
A brief conversation that feeds the fears of the intelligence services: Antonio Panzeri allegedly diverted this interpersonal skills that his friends in the European Parliament were praised yesterday to massively enrich himself and introduce foreign interests to the most intimate of European democracy.
A valuable relay
This friendship between the Moroccan diplomat and Antonio Panzeri’s family seems to have its roots shortly after 2009 when the Italian socialist has just been re-elected to the European Parliament, winning the presidency of the delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries but also the co-chair, in tandem with Abderrahim Atmoun, of the EU-Morocco Joint Parliamentary Committee. Suffice to say that Mr. Panzeri is, more than anyone else at that time, the face of European diplomacy in Rabat, a man who is better to have as a friend than an enemy. Or, in more diplomatic terms and as summarized by an October 2011 “leaked” note sent by the Moroccan Mission to the European Union in Rabat, Mr. Panzeri “may be a strong ally or a formidable opponent”.
The purpose of this note is to prepare the visit that the S&D MEP must make across the Mediterranean two weeks later. A delicate stop in Tindouf, where several Saharawi refugee camps are gathered, is planned. Necessary step to preserve the Euro-MP’s image of neutrality: “Tindouf’s visit is essential to strengthen Mr. Panzeri’s credibility with Algeria and Polisario after he accused him of being pro-Moroccan,” warns the Moroccan representation to the EU. The Polisario Front is fighting for the independence of Western Sahara.
The order of Wissam Alaoui
In another cable, dated that 2013, the Moroccan Mission in Brussels suggests to its government a series of measures likely to counteract “the growing activism of our opponents within the EP”, and in particular the report that British MEP Charles Tannock must write on the human rights situation in Western Sahara. Several lobbying strategies are being considered and to achieve its goals, the Mission intends to “co-co Coordinate its action with the President of the Maghreb delegation to Parliament, Mr. Antonio Panzeri, a close friend of Morocco, in order to reduce the field of harm that the Tannock project could constitute”. In July 2014, Antonio Panzeri will even be decorated with the third-class Alaoui Wissam by King Mohammed VI. On the same day, his friend Abderrahim Atmoun was also a medalist.
Questioned by investigating judge Michel Claise the day after his arrest, on December 10, Mr. Panzeri nevertheless refutes having been a double agent, having never betrayed his mandate for the benefit of interest from third countries. He says, he would not have accepted the remunerative missions of the Moroccans until after the expiry of his third term in 2019: “The agreement provided that we would have worked to avoid resolutions against the country and that in exchange, we would have received 50,000 euros. This agreement was reached in Morocco and, in a way, continued and was continued via the current ambassador, who is in Warsaw (…). ”
“I feel indebted”
The coveal friendship with Francesco Giorgi, also suspected of having drawn from Moroccan, Qatari and Mauritanian manna, dates back to the same time: a graduate in political science from the University of Milan, Giorgi was not yet 23 years old when he joined the ULB as part of an Erasmus exchange and began his internship in the European Parliament. It is there that he will meet the Greek Eva Kaili, who will become his companion, but also Antonio Panzeri: at the beginning of his second European term, the fifty-year-old is seduced by this young trilingual compatriot – Panzeri speaks only Italian – and a specialist in international relations. From the bays of the Caprice of the gods to the Brussels jails, the two men have not since separated. When the first leaves Europe in 2019, the second becomes the assistant of another deputy, Andrea Cozzolino, while supporting his former boss in the launch, then the management of Fight Impunity, the Brussels ASBL set up to collect… Qatari money: “Mr. Panzeri offered me my first job, I feel indebted to him,” Francesco Giorgi explains to the “He had a lot of trouble accepting his non-re-election; he made me benefit from his contacts, useful in my work. ”
This work is therefore the advice to Andrea Cozzolino, S&D deputy since 2009, successor to Panzeri at the head of the Maghreb delegation and the Joint Parliamentary Committee. Targeted by the request for the waiver of immunity sent a few days ago by the Belgian justice system to the presidency of Parliament, cited several times in the report that the State Security transmitted to the judicial authorities last summer, Mr. Cozzolino reportedly met at least once, note the Belgian agents, the boss of the Moroccan intelligence services. In 2019, “probably in October, early November”. Another meeting, this time with Antonio Panzeri and with the Moroccan ambassador to Poland, would have taken place later in Warsaw. What to turn the former Italian communist to the dark side? The main concerned has vigorously denied since December having done anything illegal and says he is ready to be heard by the courts. Belgian intelligence nevertheless suspects him of having managed, by order of Moroccan sponsors, to infiltrate the Pegasus commission of inquiry set up in the European Parliament in March 2022 to investigate the use of spyware in Europe.
Moroccan secret services
Speaking only Italian, it is naturally first of all to compatriots that Panzeri would have turned when he had to increase his grip on the European Parliament, attracting the good graces of assistants, officials perhaps, or even parliamentarians, fears justice. By dint of prebendes and services rendered. He himself, he emerged today from the judicial file, obviously referred to his friend diplomat Abderrahim Atmoun, suspected of being the suitcase carrier, and to the Moroccan intelligence services, suspected of being the principals. To embody them, Yassine Mansouri, who has been its director since 2005, and Mohamed Belharache, a spy wanted by the French authorities because he reportedly managed, in 2016, to recruit an agent assigned to the border police at Orly airport in order to get his hands on nearly 200 “S cards”, people suspected of radicalization.