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Qatargate: Eva Kaili Speaks Out Ahead of Release from Prison

Eva Kaili Greek MEP european parliament
Eva Kaili. Credit: euranet_plus / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Eva Kaili has made her first statement since it became known that she would be allowed to return home from prison, albeit with an electronic monitoring bracelet.

Kaili is one of the most prominent figures embroiled in the Qatargate scandal. The Greek former MEP and vice president of the European Parliament has been charged with participation in a criminal organization, corruption and money laundering.

Kaili’s anticipated release from pre-trial detention in a Brussel’s prison has reportedly been delayed by an apparent inability to source an electronic monitoring bracelet. The lawmakers says she is anxious for one to be found but is looking forward to spending time with her daughter.

Eva Kaili speaks out ahead of release

Kaili is expected to be released Friday or Monday, reported La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper, although there appears to have been some trouble sourcing an electronic monitoring bracelet which she will have to wear during her time under house arrest.

“I’m anxiously waiting for the electronic wristband to get out of jail,” said the former Greek MEP.

“The first day I just want to be home with my daughter. All day with her. Since January I only saw her twice a month. I will remain in Brussels, I will continue to fight for my innocence,” she continued.

Living arrangements under house arrest

Kaili’s lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, explained that she will reside in her apartment in Brussels near the European Parliament after she is released from prison.

She will be living separately from her partner Francesco Giorgi and will only be able to communicate with him via telephone calls, which will be recorded by the authorities.

Dimitrakopoulos further clarified that this arrangement was made at Kaili’s request as she no longer desires to maintain a relationship with her Italian partner.

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.

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