The Greek MEP eva kailiimplicated in a spectacular corruption scandal involving Qatar, pleaded her innocence on Wednesday but will remain in prison pending a hearing on December 22.
kaili44 years old and who served as vice president of the European Parliamentwas arrested along with several other people over the weekend following investigations by the Belgian prosecutor’s office for a case of bribery to influence positions in the legislature.
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The Social Democrat MEP is accused of receiving bribes from Qatar to defend the interests of the emirate in the European Parliament.
Qatar has strongly denied the accusations, but a judicial source in Belgium confirmed to AFP that it was this country that was at the center of the Belgian investigation.
Following the spectacular scandal, the plenary of the European Parliament dismissed her from her position as vice-president of the legislaturein a vote that had 625 votes in favor, against just one against and two abstentions.
LOOK: Who is Eva Kaili, the vice president of the European Parliament accused of corruption in the Qatargate scandal
Kaili was also expelled from the Greek Socialist Party (Pasok-Kinal)and removed from the block of Social Democrats in the European Parliament.
Among those arrested for the scandal are Kaili’s partner, Francesco Giorgi, and former Italian MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri.
Giorgi and Panzeri They appeared this Wednesday before the Brussels Council Chamber, which had to decide whether they are still under arrest.
Lawyer Pierre Monville told AFP that the Council Chamber has determined that Giorgi remain in jail for one month.
Meanwhile, the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office announced in a note that the court decided to maintain Panzeri’s detention as well. Another detainee, Nicolò Figa-Talamanca, was released but must wear an electronic bracelet.
According to the lawyer of kaili in BelgiumAndré Risopoulos, the MEP could not appear before the court because of a strike in the prison where she is detained.
Meanwhile, in Athens, His lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, assured that Kaili “is innocent.”
The Eurolegislator “has no relationship with the money found at her home (…), she was not aware of the existence of this money.”
At Kaili’s home, investigators found bags with about 150,000 euros in cash.
The lawyer assured that he spoke several times by phone with the detained MEP, affirming that “only her partner” with whom she lived, can give “answers about the existence of this money.”
Meanwhile, the father of kaili He was located with a suitcase containing 750,000 euros in cash.
600,000 euros were also found at the home of Panzeri, a former Italian socialist MEP who currently runs an NGO in Brussels.
In Greece, the leadership of the Pasok-Kinal party is also pressing for kaili resign her seat as MEP, according to sources of political formation.
The scandal is of such magnitude that the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, assured on Tuesday that it is an “attack” against European democracy.
The case also has a strong impact in Greece, where corruption cases plague the country.
Many Greeks expressed their embarrassment to see this former television presenter mired in controversy. The Greek Anti-Money Laundering Authority froze the financial assets of kaili and their relatives.
The Greek press also emphasized the relations between kaili and the well-known Greek-Russian tycoon Ivan Savvidis, owner, among other things, of the Thessaloniki football club PAOK and former deputy in the Russian Duma.
kailiwho rose to fame as a TV presenter, held a seat in the Greek Parliament between 2007 and 2012, and won a seat in the European Parliament in 2014. She had become vice president 11 months ago.
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