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Qatargate: Eva Kaili Released From House Arrest

Eva Kaili Greek MEP european parliament
Eva Kaili has been released from house arrest. Credit: euranet_plus / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Eva Kaili, a key suspect in the Qatargate scandal which has rocked the European Parliament, was freed from house arrest on Thursday.

The Greek former MEP and vice president of the European Parliament was charged with participation in a criminal organization, corruption, and money laundering. She is expected to resume her duties in the European Parliament, albeit without any affiliation to a political party or group.

Referring to Kaili’s release from house arrest, the prosecutor’s office released a brief press release saying that “The investigation no longer requires her detention.”

Eva Kaili released from house arrest

“If there are conditions tied to [her release], I will put down a request to lift every condition,” Kaili’s Belgian lawyer Sven Mary told POLITICO. Mary is reportedly unsure whether there are remaining conditions for the release of his client.

When Kaili was first placed under house arrest, she was made to wear an electronic tag that would track her movements. With the removal of the tag and the condition of house arrest no longer imposed, Kaili will be able to resume her duties at the European Parliament.

Marc Tarabella, a Belgian MEP who was also implicated in the Qatargate scandal, was seen at the European Parliament this week after a court ruling removed the need for monitoring. He attended a committee meeting and was seen having a drink at the café.

Qatargate: the story so far

Eva Kaili was one of several individuals implicated in the Qatargate scandal. A number of figures under investigation, like Kaili, are MEPs.

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.”

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