Eva Kaili is said to have received a bribe from Qatar. The former EU Parliament Vice President has led a jet set life like a movie star in recent years

“Do you have six or seven hundred thousand euros at home to pay the pizza delivery boy?” the otherwise serious commentator on the Greek channel “Mega TV” asked Eva Kaili’s lawyer on Tuesday evening. Because this Michalis Dimitrakopoulo actually tried to portray the cash found in the house of the ousted EU Vice President as trifles. However, the lawyer is met with ridicule and biting irony from all TV stations because of the money. But he’s serious. Kaili’s line of defense is to shift responsibility to EU Parliament Speaker Roberta Metsola and the EU Commission. The money gets in the way.

“What kind of money is that, take it away,” quotes her lawyer as saying Kaili’s reaction when she “accidentally” saw the money on December 9, the day of her arrest. Kaili’s apartment on Rue Wiertz, just a stone’s throw from Parliament, is 53 square meters. Didn’t you notice the money beforehand? Has Kaili got so used to wealth? Her past lifestyle seems to support this. Her Instagram account is full of glossy photos, like rich IT girls, film or music stars. She, the social democrat from financially weak Greece, was apparently doing well and she wanted to show it to the world.

The paparazzi, who in Greece are often briefed on the photo opportunity by the celebs themselves, were caught in a bikini on the jet-setting island of Mykonos, where a weekend in a hotel often costs a Greek worker a month’s wages. For New Year’s Eve 2019, she wished her followers from the French Alps a happy new year. She let the public know that she was in San Francisco in September 2018 and hovered over the sea with an impressive aerial view.

Nine years ago, when she was listening to the singing artist Konstantinos Argyros in a nightclub with a Russian-Greek oligarch, the extremely wealthy football boss Ivan Savvidis, she poured a sea of ​​carnations over Savvidis. These are sold in nightclubs for 50 euros a plate. Savvidis apparently bought up the club’s entire carnation stock to amuse the young politician.

It’s certainly hard to judge the value of money when, like Kaili, you’ve got enough cash to buy a 169-square-foot condo in Athens’ upscale Psychiko suburb. The purchase price does not sound that high, Kaili paid 269,000 euros in 2019. But this purchase has something disreputable, because the real value of the property is estimated at more than 900,000 euros, even the tax office puts it at almost 700,000. The very low purchase price was declared by Kaili in the “Pothen Esches” (“where did you get it from”) transparency register, which is mandatory for politicians, journalists and civil servants, and she got away with it.

Politicians’ wealth declarations are available online, including Kaili’s for 2021 and previous years. Have these transparency statements been verified? There’s not a lot to be said for it. The sum in Kaili’s bank accounts doubled within two years to sums that can hardly be explained by the monthly diet of the European Parliament.

Greek MEPs are left with around 7,300 euros a month after taxes have been deducted. In 2019, Kaili claims to have earned a total of 219,000 euros. At the beginning of the year she had 210,000 euros in her accounts in Greece and Belgium. At the end of the year, she had an account balance of 405,000 euros. At the same time, she bought the property from the tax office for 270,000 euros and wants to have financed this with 340,000 euros from the sale of another property.

In such cases, the Greek tax authorities want to see the taxes and proof of income based on the estimated price. Didn’t anyone get suspicious? Now the investigators of the public prosecutor’s office against corruption and money laundering are busy with the declarations of Kaili’s assets. It is certain that if Kaili gets her crazy story through in Belgium, she will face legal trouble in Greece. She can hardly present a scapegoat for her wealth declarations.

Greek media correspondents report that in addition to her third-floor apartment on Rue Wirtz, Kaili also wanted to buy the fourth-floor apartment above. Where would the money have come from? How does her eloquent lawyer try to talk her out of that? Has the politician lost all connection to reality and logic?

According to former television colleagues from “Mega TV”, where she appeared on the public stage as a news presenter around two decades ago, she is said to have had no contact with her colleagues and no friendships even then. It had no relation to the ordinary everyday life of the citizens. Their world was made up of politicians and the rich.

Should she have invested the alleged bribes in cryptocurrencies, the virtual Garden of Eden of money laundering? The assumption is reasonable, especially since her sister Mantalena Kaili, as an expert for digitization and cryptocurrencies, heads the NGO ElonTech, which was closely connected to the EU through Kaili. Questions that are also being discussed in Brussels. The NGO’s website, elontech.org, which was accessible until yesterday, is no longer accessible today.

The Belgian police authorities and the Belgian judiciary are very secretive, nothing got through in the at least one and a half years of the search. Based on tapped phone calls from Kaili’s co-defendant Pier Antonio Panzeri, they suspected significantly more bribes than they seized on December 9 and found the cash. The Belgian police were also, reports the Italian “La Repubblica”, that they found money with Kaili and that it was so much.