The European politician Eva Kaili, who is suspected of corruption, initially remains in prison. An appointment at the Brussels Palace of Justice, at which a decision was to be taken on whether the former Vice President of the European Parliament should be held in custody, was postponed to Thursday next week.
The reason for this is a strike in the prison where Kaili is being held, as her lawyer André Risopoulos told the Belgian newspaper L’Echo on Wednesday. That’s why she couldn’t be brought to court. Kaili remains in custody for the time being.
The three other suspects in the corruption scandal surrounding the EU Parliament, on the other hand, were heard, as Belgian media reported. Among them are Kaili’s friend, who works as an MEP’s assistant, and former Socialist MEP Antonio Panzeri. A decision on whether to remain in custody should be made on Wednesday.
Kaili herself has meanwhile been removed as Vice President of the European Parliament. She excluded her Greek Pasok party and the Social Democratic group in the European Parliament.
The Belgian judiciary has been investigating suspected corruption, money laundering and foreign influence in the vicinity of the European Parliament for months. It is said that the Gulf Emirate of Qatar, which is currently hosting the soccer World Cup, tried to influence political decisions with gifts of money and goods. Since Friday, the Belgian judiciary has arrested six suspects, two of whom are now free.
On Sunday, however, an investigating judge issued an arrest warrant against Kaili and the three others. They are accused of involvement in a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption. Kaili has already pleaded her innocence through her lawyer. He had previously described this Wednesday as the most important day for Kaili because it should be decided whether she would be released.
The Belgian police said on Twitter on Wednesday that almost 1.5 million euros had been confiscated during house searches in connection with the corruption scandal in the Brussels region. In addition, she posted several photos showing, among other things, a trolley case and several briefcases full of banknotes and several stacks of banknotes.
In view of the alleged influence from the desert state, according to a draft, the European Parliament wants to suspend all parliamentary work on Qatar until further notice. There should be no voting or business trips to the Gulf Emirates until the allegations have been clarified, according to a draft cross-party resolution that Parliament plans to vote on Thursday.
In addition, more staff and money should be available in the future to check the transparency information provided by parliamentarians. According to the draft, the transparency rules should now also apply to non-EU countries. According to the text, which is subject to change, an ethics committee should also be created.