According to continental dailies following the high-profile subject, a high-ranking European legislator who was detained earlier this month in connection with an influence-peddling scandal has at least partially confessed to a judge.
Greek MEP Eva Kaili allegedly told a judge in Brussels, as reported by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica and the Belgian newspaper Le Soir “It is real. I was aware of Mr. Panzeri’s activity, “pointing to a long-time Italian MEP who is said to be the focus of the corruption inquiry. She is also alleged to have admitted that she was aware of the cash suitcases that were discovered in her home when she was detained.
However, the daily said that Kaili was simply admitting what the investigators already knew. According to reports, she told her father to take the money away and warned him about the searches; he was caught around the same time as her, holding a bag full of cash.
Also allegedly warned by Kaili were Panzeri and two other deputy. During the investigation into the incident, a total of €1.5 million ($1.59 million) in cash was discovered. Kaili is believed to have been paid by Qatar to advocate on behalf of the Gulf nation. She is still in Belgian detention.
Kaili, 44, from Greece’s center-left PASOK-KINAL party, and one of the 14 vice presidents of the European Parliament, was arrested Dec. 9 by Belgian police after her home was searched on corruption charges related to Qatar.
Last Tuesday, she was barred from the parliament’s vice presidency over the allegations.
Amid news of the scandal, EU parliamentarians voted by a large majority on Thursday to suspend access privileges for Qatari lobbyists for the duration of the investigation. The final decision on the matter rests with Roberta Metsola, the EP president.
Metsola on Monday told German Funke Mediengruppe dailies that she had “a clear message for all the malicious actors in third countries who believe they can get their way with money.” The European Parliament will stand in their way, she added.
Qatar has dismissed the “baseless and gravely misinformed” allegations, “categorically rejecting any attempts to associate it with accusations of misconduct.”