Corruption allegations: EU Parliament dismisses Vice President Kaili

With the almost unanimous dismissal of its Vice President Eva Kaili, the European Parliament has attempted a first liberation in the corruption scandal about alleged influence from the Gulf Emirate of Qatar.

Corruption allegations: EU Parliament dismisses Vice President Kaili

With the almost unanimous dismissal of its Vice President Eva Kaili, the European Parliament has attempted a first liberation in the corruption scandal about alleged influence from the Gulf Emirate of Qatar.

MEPs removed the 44-year-old Greek from office with just one dissenting vote in Strasbourg. After days of ever new allegations against members of parliament and employees, the clean-up work is now beginning. Kaili, who is currently in custody, denied through her lawyer the allegation that she influenced political decisions in favor of the desert state of Qatar in exchange for money.

In view of the extent of the scandal, anything but a clear signal in the vote on Kaili's dismissal would have been an embarrassment. However, very few people expected such a clear result. "The great unity of Parliament is a very good sign," said Green Party leader Terry Reintke of the German Press Agency. "If we can now agree on comprehensive information and further preventive measures, an important first step in the reaction to the scandal has been taken."

Kaili gets her MP mandate for the time being

President Roberta Metsola promised on Monday that there should be a complete investigation. She mentioned internal investigations, a reform process for more transparency and better protection for whistleblowers. A committee of inquiry and an ethics committee are under discussion.

Over the weekend, Metsola stripped former TV presenter Kaili, one of 14 vice presidents, of all powers in that post. She was also expelled from her Greek Pasok party and the Socialist group in the European Parliament. The Greek will retain her seat in parliament for the time being.

Kaili is one of six suspects arrested by Belgian authorities since Friday in the corruption scandal. Four of them were remanded in custody on Sunday, including 44-year-old Kaili herself, her boyfriend and former Italian Socialist MEP Antonio Panzeri. They are accused of involvement in a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption.

It is said that Qatar, which is currently hosting the soccer World Cup, tried to influence political decisions in the European Parliament with gifts of money and goods. The investigators meanwhile searched the houses and apartments of at least two MPs and the offices of several parliament employees. Qatar denies the allegations.

"It has nothing to do with cash flows from Qatar"

Kaili herself is also not aware of any guilt, as her lawyer Michalis Dimitrakopoulos clarified. "Her position is that she is innocent. She has nothing to do with money flows from Qatar, nothing at all." He was not allowed to comment on details and he also had no picture of whether money had been found and if so, how much, said Dimitrakopoulos. But then he wanted to straighten out one detail: Contrary to what was reported by the Greek media, no 160,000 euros were found under the cradle of Kaili's little daughter. There is no such cradle.

The Belgian media "Le Soir" and "Knack", which uncovered the investigation into Kaili, reported that investigators found more than 1.5 million euros in cash at Kaili and Panzeri's premises.

Visentini also protests his innocence

Like Kaili, the temporarily detained General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Luca Visentini, has protested his innocence. "I am glad that the survey has ended and that I was able to fully answer all the questions," said the Italian, according to an ITUC release.

Incidentally, the only vote against Kaili's dismissal in parliament came from a self-declared fighter against corruption: the non-attached MP Mislav Kolakusic from Croatia. When asked by the dpa, the former judge justified his vote with the presumption of innocence. In addition to the 625 yes votes and Kolakusic' no, there were two abstentions: from AfD politician Joachim Kuhs and the Dutch conservative Dorien Rookmaker. Kuhs told the dpa that as a law-abiding citizen and Christian, he did not want to prejudice Kaili.

How things will continue for Kaili will be seen on Wednesday. Then she is supposed to testify before a court chamber and it will be decided whether she will be released first.

NEXT NEWS