Greek MEP Eva Kaili denied through her lawyer on Tuesday any involvement in the alleged bribery scandal involving World Cup host Qatar at the European Parliament.
She is one of four suspects charged after Belgian investigators found large sums in cash in homes and a suitcase.
Kaili was not present in court on Wednesday. She had asked for a delay and her hearing will be held on December 22. No explanation was given as to why.
In a series of interviews on Greek TV Michalis Dimitrakopoulos said that his client has nothing to do with financing from Qatar, “nothing, explicitly and unequivocally.”
Asked about the photos released by the Belgian authorities showing the piles of cash retrieved from the search in the suspect’s homes the lawyer said that the photos “are shocking but do not reveal to whom the money belongs.”
On Wednesday the Belgian police released more photos of the cash recovered from its investigations. The photos show piles of notes in €200, €50, €20 and €10 denominations. They also show a suitcase full of money. Reports said it added up to €1.5 million ($1.7 million).
Dans le cadre d’un dossier du Parquet Fédéral de suspicions de corruption, visant des personnes actives au sein du Parlement européen, la Police Judiciaire Fédérale a saisi près d’1,5 millions d’euros lors de perquisitions menées en région bruxelloise. pic.twitter.com/2UfK2zNtnm
— Police Fédérale (@policefederale) December 14, 2022
Kaili’s lawyer points to her partner as the culprit in the Qatar scandal
Dimitrakopoulos said that the money in question is from confiscations in the homes of nine people, of which four are in custody. “Some of this money was also found in Ms. Kaili’s house,” he added, underlining that the MEP has made it clear that she has not been bribed by anyone.
“Ms. Kaili’s partner is the only one who can explain to whom this money belonged, why it was found in their house, and what it was used for. Eva Kaili has nothing to do with this money,” stressed Kaili’s lawyer.
“The money was found in the house and the person who put it in was her partner,” he added.
He was referring to Italian national Francesco Giorgi who is also under investigation by Belgian authorities.
Regarding the money found in the suitcase of her father, the lawyer claimed that it also belonged to Giorgi. He claimed that the father was trying to hand over the suitcase to its owner. However, the lawyer invoked confidentiality without naming the owner.
Dimitrakopoulos emphasized that Kaili did not go to Qatar on her own initiative but was a representative of the European Parliament. “Ms. Metsola, the president of the European Parliament sent her to Qatar,” he said.
“For there to be bribery and money laundering, it must be proven that the money is from Qatar. If this is not proven, there is no bribery and no money laundering” the Greek lawyer added and urged the Belgian authorities to focus on the Italian end of the investigations.
The Greek authorities on Monday froze Kaili’s assets in her homeland, including property, bank accounts, and shares in companies among other things.
Belgian judges will decide perhaps as soon as Wednesday the further criminal course of the case against Kaili and the three others accused in the case. They will also decide if she will remain in custody or if she will be released until her case is taken to court.