The European Parliament has taken the first step by ditching one of its own vice presidents, Greek socialist Eva Kaili amid allegations of corruption linked to World Cup host, Qatar.
European Parliament Vice-President Eva Kaili and three others were charged and imprisoned last Sunday in Belgium, amid a police probe into alleged corruption linked with Qatar.
Greek socialist MEP Eva Kaili’s lawyer has since declared that she was innocent and “has nothing to do with Qatar’s bribes”.
With the 44-year-old former TV news presenter still in a Brussels jail cell, her colleagues in the Strasbourg parliament are planning to vote to strip her of her vice president’s role.
The parliament’s president, Maltese conservative Roberta Metsola, convened the leaders of political groups before calling on MEPs to vote “on the early termination of office of Vice President Eva Kaili”.
A Belgian judge will decide tomorrow whether to maintain her and three co-accused in custody pending her trial.
She was arrested last week during a series of raids on the homes and offices of several MEPs and their assistants or associates carried out by Belgian graft investigators.
Belgian prosecutors said 600,000 euros ($630,000) were found at the home of one suspect, 150,000 euros at the flat of an MEP, and several hundred thousand euros in a suitcase in a hotel room.
Some of these “bags of cash” were found in Kaili’s home, a judicial source said, leading a judge to conclude that, as she had apparently been caught red-handed her parliamentary immunity would not apply.
A Belgian judicial source told AFP that investigators believe that figures representing Gulf monarchy Qatar had been paying off European politicians to burnish the country’s image.
Qatar has denied any involvement in European corruption. “Any claims of misconduct by the State of Qatar are gravely misinformed,” an official told AFP.
Kaili’s lawyer Michalis Dimitrakopoulos told private Greek television channel Open TV: “Her position is she is innocent. She has nothing to do with Qatar’s bribes.”
Asked if any cash was found at Kaili’s home, Dimitrakopoulos said: “I am not confirming or denying. There is confidentiality. I have no idea if money was found or how much was found.”
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