Crime & Justice

Kaili admits partial involvement in EU corruption scandal: press

Brussels, Dec 20 (EFE).- Greek politician Eva Kaili, who was recently suspended from her post as European Parliament vice president over her alleged involvement in a bribery case implicating Qatar and Morocco, has admitted her partial involvement in the scheme to an investigating judge in Belgium.

Social democrat Kaili, 44, admitted she asked her father to remove a large quantity of cash from her property and said she had been aware of the “activities” of her husband, ex-parliamentary advisor Francesco Giorgi, with former EU lawmaker and fellow Italian Pier Antonio Panzeri, who was allegedly at the core of the bribery scheme, Belgian newspaper Le Soir reported Tuesday.

Last week, Belgian prosecutors confirmed that more than 1.5 million euros had been seized from Kaili’s home and that of Panzeri.

Investigators found about 600,000 euros at Panzeri’s residence, while the rest was discovered in Kaili’s home and in the hands of her father, who was carrying a suitcase stuffed with cash when he was detained by police.

Kaili has been held at Haren prison on the outskirts of Brussels since December 9 and is due to appear before another judge on Thursday, who will decide whether she remains in custody or is granted conditional release.

Giorgi, 35, and father to a two-year-old daughter with Kaili, has confessed his involvement in the corruption and bribery scandal at the European Parliament, and has pointed to Panzeri as the head of the scheme, Le Soir reported.

Panzeri’s daughter and wife were also detained in Italy at the behest of Belgian authorities, who on Monday issued an extradition request for the latter, a measure that is also being considered for the daughter.

Investigators believe the pair made trips to Morocco to receive “products” from the Moroccan ambassador to Poland, Abderrahim Atmoun, Le Soir reported.

Giorgi has admitted being part of an organization used by Morocco and Qatar to exert influence in European affairs, the newspaper added.

In their statements to the judge, Panzeri and Giorgi have both implicated Belgian social democrat Marc Tarabella, who is also being investigated by authorities, while Giorgi has also pointed to Italian social democrat Andrea Cozzolino, a former assistant to Kaili.

Kaili, Giorgi and Panzeri are all being held in preventative detention while Niccolo Figa-Talamanc, the alleged lobbyist and secretary general of the NGO No Peace No Justice, has been released with an electronic tag.

Kaili has been expelled from the Social Democratic parliamentary group, and the Greek social democratic party, PASOK-Kinal, with whom she became an MP in 2007, has also terminated her membership.

She had been a European lawmaker since 2019.

Before becoming a politician, Kaili was a presenter at MEGA TV.EFE


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