EU corruption scandal: EU Parliament dismisses Vice President Kaili

Greek politician Eva Kaili loses her post as Vice President of the European Parliament on suspicion of corruption.

EU corruption scandal: EU Parliament dismisses Vice President Kaili

Greek politician Eva Kaili loses her post as Vice President of the European Parliament on suspicion of corruption. On Tuesday, MEPs voted with just one dissenting vote in Strasbourg to dismiss the 44-year-old, who has been in custody in Belgium since Sunday.

The group leaders in the EU Parliament had previously unanimously agreed on this step.

Lawyer: Kaili denies guilt

Kaili herself pleaded her innocence through her lawyer on Tuesday. "Her position is that she is innocent. She has nothing to do with money flows from Qatar, nothing at all," Michalis Dimitrakopoulos told Greek TV channel Open. He was not allowed to comment on details. He also has no picture of whether funds have been found and if so, what amounts. However, Dimitrakopoulos dismissed media reports that 160,000 euros had been found under Kaili's little daughter's cradle.

The General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, Luca Visentini, who was temporarily arrested, also denied any guilt. "Should further allegations be made, I look forward to the opportunity to refute them as I have nothing to blame," said the Italian, according to an ITUC release published on Tuesday.

The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, addressed Parliament in an urgent speech on Monday and promised that the allegations would be fully clarified. In the face of the revelations, she spoke of anger, anger and grief. "The European Parliament, ladies and gentlemen, is under attack, European democracy is under attack, and our kind of open, free, democratic societies are under attack."

Kaili expelled from party and faction

Metsola stripped former TV presenter Kaili, one of 14 vice-presidents of parliament, of all powers in this post over the weekend. She was also expelled from her Greek Pasok party and the Social Democratic group in the European Parliament. A two-thirds majority of MPs was required on Tuesday to remove her as Vice President. The decision is effective immediately.

"In order to avert further damage to European democracy, we now need an immediate and thorough investigation of the corruption scandal, the full extent of which we have not yet been able to imagine," said Left Party chairman Martin Schirdewan of the German Press Agency. There must be an investigative committee and an ethics committee. The leader of the Greens, Terry Reintke, told the dpa: "We are united in our goal of achieving full clarification and taking further preventive measures." Your group is committed to comprehensive transparency.

Greek social democrat 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 Kaili herself, her boyfriend and former MEP Antonio Panzeri. A decision is to be made on Wednesday as to whether her detention will be maintained.

Criminal organization, money laundering and corruption

The four are accused of involvement in a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption. It is rumored that the Gulf Emirate of Qatar, which is currently hosting the soccer World Cup, has tried to influence political decisions in the European Parliament with extensive monetary and material gifts. At the EU level, for example, consideration is currently being given to easing the visa rules for Qatari citizens - the procedure in Parliament has been put on hold for the time being after the allegations of bribery. Qatar denies the allegations.

Meanwhile, the authorities are pursuing their investigations. On Monday, the anti-money laundering authorities in Kaili's native Greece froze all the assets of the 44-year-old, her parents, her sister and her partner. In Brussels, investigators searched premises in the EU Parliament at the beginning of the week. Data was confiscated from the computers of ten parliamentary employees.