Crime & Justice

Lawyer says Kaili not guilty amid Qatar EU corruption probe

(Update: adds info from prosecutors, court date)

Athens/Brussels, Dec 13 (EFE).- Eva Kaili’s lawyer on Tuesday denied the former European parliament vice president had taken bribes from Qatar after she was arrested by Belgian police and charged with corruption and money laundering.

“She has nothing to do with financing from Qatar, nothing – explicitly and unequivocally. That is her position,” Kaili’s lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, said on Open TV in Greece.

The lawyer added that Kaili had “undertaken no commercial activity in her life.”

On Monday Greek authorities froze the EU lawmaker’s assets, and those of her close relatives, over their alleged links to illegal activities.

Kaili was arrested on Sunday on corruption charges for allegedly receiving hefty bribes from Qatar to influence EP policy regarding the World Cup.

A judge in Belgium charged her and three other people — including her partner, Italian Franceso Giorgi — for their alleged involvement in a criminal organization engaged in corruption and money laundering.

After conducting 16 searches over the weekend, Belgian investigators searched several offices of the European parliament in Brussels on Monday to seize computer data from 10 parliamentary staff, according to the country’s federal prosecutor’s office.

Belgian prosecutors on Tuesday confirmed that more than 1.5 million euros had been seized from Kaili’s home and that of former Italian Social Democrat MEP Pier Antonio 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 reportedly carrying a suitcase stuffed with cash when he was detained.

Panzeri, Kaili and Giorgi, as well as a fourth suspect, are scheduled to appear before the Brussels council chamber on Wednesday to decide whether they will remain in custody pending trial, Le Soir newspaper reported.

In a statement published on Saturday, Qatar denied any wrongdoing: “The State of Qatar categorically rejects any attempts to associate it with accusations of misconduct. Any association of the Qatari government with the reported claims is baseless and gravely misinformed.”

The European parliament on Tuesday voted to dismiss Kaili, after she had been suspended with “immediate effect” at the weekend by EP president Roberta Metsola.

Kaili, 44, 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


Related Articles

Back to top button