The European Parliament strips Eva Kaili of the position of vice president for the corruption scandal in Qatar

The European Parliament strips Eva Kaili of the position of vice president for the corruption scandal in Qatar
Written by admin

  • Greek politician, one of four people arrested in Belgium
  • Kaili’s lawyer says she denies wrongdoing
  • Police discovered cash in raids, some in suitcase at hotel
  • The role of the European Parliament as the moral compass of the bloc in danger

STRASBOURG, Dec 13 (Reuters) – The European Parliament dismissed the Greek MEP eva kaili as deputy speaker of the assembly on Tuesday after she was accused of taking bribes from Qatar in one of the largest corruption scandals to hit Brussels.

Kaili has denied any wrongdoing, but European lawmakers have moved quickly to isolate her, worried the Belgian investigation would seriously undermine the assembly’s efforts to present itself as a strong moral compass in a world in turmoil.

“It will not be swept under the rug. Our internal investigation will look at what has happened and how our systems can be made more airtight,” European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said as 625 MEPs voted to strip Kaili of her position as vice-president. , with only one vote against and two abstentions.

Kaili, who is being held by Belgian police, was one of the 14 vice-presidents of parliament.

Belgian prosecutors charged her and three Italians over the weekend with participating in a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption.

A source close to the investigation has said they were believed to have pocketed money from Qatar, current hosts of the soccer World Cup. The energy-rich Gulf state has denied any wrongdoing.

Police raided numerous buildings in Brussels, including parliament offices and 19 houses, and discovered around 1.5 million euros ($1.58 million), part of it hidden in a suitcase in a hotel room, he said. a source close to the investigation.

Kaili’s lawyer in Greece, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, said on Tuesday that he was innocent. “She has nothing to do with the funding of Qatar, nothing, explicitly and unequivocally,” he told Open TV in a first public comment.

However, several MEPs called for the 44-year-old Socialist politician to leave the assembly entirely.

“Given the scope of the corruption scandal, it’s the least we can expect from her,” said Manon Aubry MEP, who co-chairs the left-wing group.


Countries and politicians from the nationalist right who have faced criticism from the assembly said it had lost its moral high ground.

Ali bin Samikh Al Marri, Qatar’s Minister of Labour, speaks with Eva Kaili of Greece, Vice President of the European Parliament, during a meeting in Qatar, on October 31, 2022, in this social media spread image. Twitter/Ministry of Labor – State of Qatar via REUTERS

“From now on, the European Parliament will not be able to speak about corruption in a credible way,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto wrote on Facebook.

Jordan Bardella, a French MEP and president of the far-right Rassemblement National, said the scandal showed what he called the “mockery” of an EU “that has set itself up as a model of virtue, a giver of lessons.”

Belgian prosecutors said they had suspected for more than four months that a Gulf state was trying to buy influence in Brussels. Although prosecutors did not publicly name any state, a source with knowledge of the case said it was Qatar.

None of the four people accused have been formally identified, but their names were quickly leaked to the press.


According to a source familiar with the case, the other defendants are former EU lawmaker Pier Antonio Panzeri, Kaili’s partner Francesco Giorgi, who is a parliamentary assistant, and Niccolo Figa-Talamanca, secretary general of a campaign group for human rights.

There was no response to calls and emails made by Reuters to their respective offices or homes.

Angelo De Riso, a lawyer for Panzeri’s wife, Maria Colleoni, and Silvia’s adult daughter, whose extradition from Italy is being sought by Belgium as part of the investigation, said there will be hearings on December 1. 19-20 to decide on that request.

“My clients told the judge that they didn’t know anything about the things that were being challenged and that they had nothing to do with it,” De Riso said.

Kaili was one of a group of young Greek aspiring politicians who emerged from the debilitating debt crisis that gripped Greece between 2010 and 2015. The Greek socialist party PASOK has said it will expel her from its ranks.

In a speech in the European Parliament on November 11. On February 21, at the start of the month-long World Cup, Kaili lashed out at Qatar’s detractors, hailing the energy-rich Gulf state as “a leader in labor rights.”

Qatar, whose immense wealth is derived from its oil and gas reserves, drew harsh criticism for its human rights records in the run up to the World Cup, including its treatment of migrant workers.

Additional reporting by Phil Blenkinsop, Emilio Parodi, Karolina Tagaris, Clement Rossignol, Max Schwarz, Lefteris Papadimas, Michele Kambas, Alan Charlish, Giselda Vagnoni; Written by Ingrid Melander; Edited by Edmund Blair, Crispian Balmer and Mark Heinrich

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

About the author


Leave a Comment