Eva Kaili, the Greek MEP who was arrested in December last year in connection with the Qatargate scandal, was released from prison on Wednesday and placed under house arrest.
Kaili’s lawyer, Sven Mary, told the press that her movements will be monitored with an electronic bracelet.
The disgraced former MEP will face further hearings that will determine whether she remains under house arrest.
Eva Kaili placed under house arrest
“I will not give more commentary, besides the fact that this is a logical decision that took too long to be taken,” commented Kaili’s lawyer after it emerged that she would be released from prison and placed under house arrest instead.
The Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office also confirmed that after more than four months spent in prison, Kaili would be allowed to return home under electronic surveillance.
Kaili was arrested on December 9, 2023, and charged with money laundering, corruption and participating in a criminal organization in connection with an influence-buying scheme allegedly being conducted by Qatar and Morocco within the EU. She was held at Haren Prison on the outskirts of Brussels, as part of her pre-trial detention.
She has since been stripped of the political immunity enjoyed by MEPs and lost her position as a vice president.
The Qatargate scandal
The Qatargate scandal concerns an alleged cash-for-favors scheme that involved “large” sums of money and “substantial” gifts paid by Qatar and Morocco to influence decision-making inside the European Parliament.
In December, Belgian police seized over €1.5 million in cash during dozens of home and office searches. At the time, it was reported that bags of cash were discovered at the residence of Kaili. Her father was also reportedly caught attempting to flee with a suitcase full of money.
Qatar continues to deny the allegations. In the aftermath of the initial investigation and arrests in December, Qatar reiterated that the allegations were unfounded and expressed the sentiment that it had been “exclusively criticized and attacked”. The Qatari government also warned that the accusations might harm relations between the European bloc and Qatar.
Similarly, Morocco also denies allegations that it used bribery and gifts to try and influence European policy. The country denounced the allegations as “repeated media attacks” and “legal harassment”.
“The partnership between Morocco and the European Union is a partnership that faces attacks,” Nasser Bourita, Morocco’s foreign affairs minister, said in January. “Morocco’s position has always been that it is a partnership that must be protected on both sides.”
Since the initial arrests of Kaili and several other figures in December, investigators in Brussels have continued to pursue the case. Marc Tarabella, another MEP, was arrested in February in connection with the case.