The Qatargate scandal, though somewhat off the media radar since the initial revelations, continues to move forward quietly. Greek MEP Eva Kaili, at the centre of the corruption scandal, who had been kept in prison, has now been released and gone home under electronic supervision.
Eva Kaili had been held, pending trial, since December 9th, when her parliamentary immunity was lifted following revelations of her involvement in the corruption scandal that has been rocking the European Parliament for several months. An investigation revealed massive cash payments—mainly from Qatar and Morocco—to MEPs supporting the policies of these two countries. Both countries have denied all accusations against them. Belgian police recovered more than €1.5 million in cash from several homes and offices in the European capital.
Charged with participation in a criminal organisation, corruption, and money laundering, Kaili also lost her position as vice president of the European Parliament and was expelled from her party.
According to her lawyer, Kaili’s continued detention was completely unjustified. Kaili’s attorney accused the Belgian authorities of brandishing her ‘capture’ as a trophy in this case. The four other suspects involved who, like her, had been taken to prison, were all released before her and put under electronic monitoring.
Earlier requests for release under electronic monitoring had been rejected—hence the protests from her counsel, who claimed that Kaili’s detention was orchestrated solely to extract a confession from her. The MEP, who complained about her detention conditions to a visiting Italian MP, Deborah Bergamini, claims she is being politically persecuted. “For the first six weeks, she was in a state of deep desperation and had suicidal thoughts,” Bergamini told Politico in early April.
The charges against Eva Kaili are based on accusations by one of her colleagues, former MEP Antonio Panzeri, a member of the Italian Democratic Party, and revelations made during a phone call to her father on December 9th, in which she allegedly asked him to move bags of cash in his flat.
The MEP is due to undergo several more hearings in the coming weeks but continues to vigorously assert her innocence through her lawyer. Panzeri, on the other hand, confessed in January that he had been involved in a large-scale bribery scheme and pledged to provide more details about its operation.
According to Euronews, Kaili, although now without a label, continues to receive her MEP’s salary of €7,146 per month and half of her monthly allowance of €4,778. Today, Politico points out, no suspect involved in the case is behind bars, raising questions about the progress of the investigation, which has stalled in recent weeks.