European Union has a ‘design flaw’ says expert
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Top MEP Eva Kaili claims her boyfriend is to blame for the Qatar scandal, as he was the one carrying a bag full of cash, her lawyer said. The now former Vice-President of the European Parliament was arrested by Belgian authorities after a series of raids found €150,000 at her Brussels residence. Ms Kaili, her partner Francesco Giorgi and his former boss Pier Antonio Panzeri remain in prison as police investigations continue.
Despite evidence of her culpability, Ms Kaili’s lawyer insisted her client is innocent “without footnotes and asterisks.”
In a press statement, the lawyer later said that Ms Kaili “never claimed that she knew or participated in the acts of which her partner is accused, never had ownership or possession of the money found in the shared apartment. She has never in her life taken a bribe.”
Ms Kaili also feels betrayed by her boyfriend, her lawyer added: “She feels betrayed by her partner, she trusted him, he betrayed her.”
Francesco Giorgi, Kaili’s partner, is one of the four people who have been detained on suspicion of corruption, money laundering, and links to a criminal organisation. Authorities believe the defendant accepted money or gifts in return for advancing the interests of foreign nations like Qatar in the EU Parliament.
Ms Kaili’s lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, also revealed she asked her father to hide the Qatari bribes to a Greek radio station.
He said: “When her husband was arrested, it was in a nearby area in the garage, but they were together. It was not announced what the reason [for the arrest] was.
“At that moment, she learned about the contents of the suitcase from her partner. One option was to turn him in to the police, the second was to take the money to its owner. She has no obligation to report her husband under European law.”
The lawyer added that Ms Kaili also tried to call MEP Panzeri and others involved in the scandal to take the “dirty money” that belonged to them.
“She called her father to come. ‘Come on now, take these things, go to your room in the hotel, and a man will come and get them’,” Mr Dimitrakopoulos said.
Lawyer Michalis Dimitrakopoulos has been defending Ms Kaili, claiming his client was unaware Mr Giorgi was holding cash and that she tried to get the money sent back to where it belonged.
Her boyfriend was later discovered by cops leaving a hotel while carrying a suitcase filled with cash.
Now, fears are growing among members of the European Parliament and their President Roberta Metsola that more cases are yet to come.
“If Qatar has decided that they want to change certain decisions and resolutions in the EU, my fear is that they will not only try to do it just with a few Social-Democrats”, EU’s top anti-corruption official Daniel Freund told Express.co.uk.
He added: “Some of my colleagues might have at least been approached but whether or not that has been successful is a different question.”
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The European Parliament is set to announce a flurry of measures in the new year to tackle corruption and bribery in the institution.
However, it remains unclear whether its President Roberta Metsola, who said the EU “is under attack”, will stick to her word. Her pledge to impose a ban on all Qatari officials has sparked backlash from one of the country’s diplomats who threatened with “energy povety and security”.
The Greek MEP, alongside her boyfriend, has been in prison since her arrest on December 9 and will be in court on Thursday to decide whether she will remain in custody pending trial.
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