Until now the police had not questioned her, despite compiling information about her ties to Pier Antonio Panzeri, a former MEP who struck a plea bargain with prosecutors and admitted taking money from Qatar, Morocco and Mauritania in exchange for political favors in the EU’s Parliament.
Neither Arena nor her lawyer immediately responded to a request for comment on Friday.
The news about Arena was first reported by Belgian daily Le Soir and RTBF.
“Don’t put yourself out of the game,” Panzeri told Arena in August 2022 during a meal at the now-defunct Salvarino pizzeria in Brussels, according to police files seen by POLITICO. “Because if you are in the game, then I am going to amass more money,” he told her.
Police raided Arena’s properties in Brussels last summer in the presence of European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, finding a large sum of money at the apartment of one of her sons — though that has not been directly linked to the Qatargate probe.
Arena is a member of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) faction in the European Parliament, and the Belgian Socialist party.