Eva Kaili, the key suspect at the heart of the bribery scandal rocking the EU’s Parliament was freed from jail and placed under house arrest in Brussels.
In her first comments, as she arrived at her home in the Belgian capital, she said she is happy to see her daughter again.
“My daughter is waiting for me. I am very happy today that I will be near her again. The fight continues with determination by my lawyers,” she said.
The former parliament vice president will remain under electronic surveillance while the investigation into the money-for-political favors case continues.
Eva Kaili while arriving at her house in Brussels told journos that she is happy to see her daughter again and she will continue the fight with the decisiveness of her lawyers. She was in the car with her father and her Greek lawyer. pic.twitter.com/EjR2fXC7qw
— Efi Koutsokosta (@Efkouts) April 14, 2023
Kaili denies wrongdoing in EU’s bribery scandal
The Greek lawmaker was removed as vice president after she was taken into custody late last year on charges of corruption, money laundering and membership in a criminal organization. She denies wrongdoing, her lawyers said.
Belgian prosecutors suspect that Kaili was among several people that were allegedly paid by Qatar and Morocco to influence decision-making at the assembly. Both countries deny the allegations.
In a statement from her prison near Brussels on Thursday she had said that “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.
Kaili’s lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, explained that she will reside in her apartment in Brussels near the European Parliament.
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.
Corruption scandal Qatargate rocks the EU
The so-called 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”.