Court says EU corruption scandal suspect must remain in jail


BRUSSELS — A former vice president of the European Parliament suspected at the center of one of the European Union’s biggest corruption scandals will be jailed for at least another month, Belgian prosecutors said today. Thursday.

Prosecutors accused Eva Kaili of corruption, being a member of a criminal organization and laundering money. She has been detained since December 9. Her partner, Francesco Giorgi, an adviser to the European Parliament, was also jailed for the same offence.

Both are suspected of working with Giorgi’s one-time boss, Pier Antonio Panzeri, a former EU lawmaker. According to the arrest warrant, Panzeri is “suspected of political interference with members of the European Parliament working in the interests of Qatar and Morocco, against payment.”

Kaili’s lawyers have said she is not in danger of flying and asked in a Brussels court that she be released under surveillance by wearing an electronic police tracking device.

But prosecutors said in a statement that the court “extended the period of preventive detention … by one month.” Her legal team has 24 hours to appeal the decision. If they do, she could reappear before the judges within two weeks.

Earlier, her Belgian lawyer, Andre Risopoulos, told reporters that the 44-year-old former Greek TV presenter was fully cooperating with investigators.

“She is taking an active role in the investigation. She denies any corruption charges against her,” Risopoulos said. He and Kaili’s family attorney from Greece, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, declined to comment further on the hearing.

Kaili was sacked from the EU parliament last week after being impeached. The council has halted work on Qatar-related cases as it investigates the impact of the cash and gift-for-effect bribery scandal. Qatar vehemently denies any involvement.

The scandal made headlines when Qatar hosted the soccer World Cup. The small, energy-rich Gulf nation has seen its international status emerge as Doha uses its vast offshore natural gas fields to establish it as one of the world’s leading nations. wealthiest in the world per capita, while reinforcing political ambitions in the region.

Morocco has yet to respond to allegations that its ambassador to Poland may have been involved.

Belgian prosecutors are also seeking to transfer Panzeri’s wife and daughter from Italy, where they are under house arrest on similar charges.

A fourth suspect in Belgium – Niccolo Figa-Talamanca, secretary general of the NGO No Peace Without Justice – has also been charged over the incident.

The scandal gained public attention earlier this month after police conducted more than 20 raids, mainly in Belgium and also in Italy. Hundreds of thousands of euros were found at a house and in a suitcase at a hotel in Brussels. Mobile phones, computer equipment and data were seized.

Dimitrakopoulos visited the jailed politician on Wednesday for several hours. He suggests that Kaili blames her partner Georgi, with whom she has a young daughter.

“She was very nervous; She feels betrayed by her partner. She trusts him, he contradicts her,” Dimitrakopoulos told Greek reporters. “A person who has lost his freedom suffers, when he has a 2-year-old child waiting and is essentially an orphan, his father also goes to prison, it is even more miserable.”

According to a transcript of Giorgi’s December 10 testimony to prosecutors obtained by Italian newspaper La Repubblica and Belgian daily Le Soir, Giorgi confessed to managing the money on behalf of a ” organization” led by Panzeri.

“I did it all for the money, which I needed,” Giorgi told prosecutors, La Repubblica newspaper reported. He also tries to protect his mate, demanding that Kaili be released from prison.

Elena Becatoros of Athens contributed to this report.


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