Vice-President Nicola Beer of the European Parliament (EP) is shocked by the corruption scandal involving her colleague Eva Kaili, she reported on Saturday. On Friday, Belgian media reported that Kaili was implicated in Qatar’s corruption. The Gulf state is said to have bribed the aides of MEPs in order to influence the decisions of the European Parliament.
German liberal Beer is “baffled” and fears the scandal will have a very negative effect on the European Parliament, which has 14 vice-presidents.
Greek Social Democrat Kaili was one of the EP leaders arrested by Belgian police on Friday. She is interrogated by a special anti-corruption unit.
Greek and Belgian media reported that at least 600,000 euros in cash was found in plastic bags at Kaila’s home. Her father was also found in the house, who wanted to travel with a suitcase full of cash. Kaili’s partner, Francesco Giorgi, has also been arrested, according to Greek and Belgian media.
MEPs have no immunity against crimes and offences. They have immunity from prosecution for what they said as MPs.
Belgian justice speaks of a “Gulf State”
Belgian justice affirms on Saturday that people occupying an important political and / or strategic position in the European Parliament have received substantial sums of money and “big gifts” from “a Gulf State”. According to justice, the intention was “to try to influence the economic and political decisions of parliament”.
Giorgi was previously the assistant of a former MEP (2014-2019), Pier Antonio Pancheri, also arrested in this case. His human rights organization “Fight Impunity” is under scrutiny by Belgian justice. The same goes for Niccolo Figa Talamanca, who also heads a human rights organization, “No peace without justice”.
Also the Social Democrats among the detainees
According to the media, the fifth detainee is the new general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Luca Vizentini. He was previously head of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). The names of Belgian Social Democrat MEPs Marc Tarabella and Marie Arena are also mentioned. With the latter, the investigation would focus on its employees.
Transparency International (TI), the international anti-corruption NGO, said it was just one incident among many. According to TI, a culture of impunity has prevailed in the European Parliament for decades. There would be weak financial regulation, deficient control mechanisms and a total absence of independent ethical control. “The EP thinks ethical rules only apply to others,” TI said.
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