Qatargtate suspect eyes return to EU parliament months after corruption charges

A Quatargate suspect will return to work at the EU Parliament just months after she was accused of corruption. The office of Eva Kaili has confirmed that the Greek MEP will resume her duties following her release from house arrest on Thursday, May 25, and formal charges issued by Belgian authorities. Her lawyers have said she is undeterred by orders to remain in Belgium and that she plans to “fully exercise all her rights and obligations” as a member of the 705-member legislative body.

Ms Kaili was arrested in late 2022 as authorities investigated a cash-for-influence political scandal within the Parliament centred on the governments of Qatar, Morocco and Mauritania.

She was serving as the body’s vice president when police found and seized nearly €1.5million (£1.3million) in cash at her home, and she was held in custody before her release to house arrest earlier this year.

Speaking on her behalf following the end of her time under house arrest, lawyers Sven Mary and Michalis Dimitrakopoulos said that Ms Kaili – who maintains her innocence – is free to work once more.

The pair said she was unbothered by restrictions keeping her in Belgium and only planned to return home to Greece following her “judicial vindication”.

They claimed in their statement that evidence documenting her alleged innocence is “increasing every day”.

The restrictions, however, will keep her from completing some of her parliamentary duties.

The European Parliament conducts plenary sessions from Strasbourg in France.

Mr Dimitrakopoulos told POLITICO that Ms Kaili cannot make the trip but said the issue would be “resolved soon”.

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The lawmaker was not the only MEP arrested during the EU crackdown, with Marc Tarabella having returned to work one day before his Greek counterpart.

Mr Tarabella was arrested in February 2023 and charged with corruption and money laundering after the Parliament voted to waive his diplomatic immunity.

He was remanded in custody and has since maintained his innocence, seeming shocked by the initial allegations earlier this year.

He was seen returning to the Parliament on the morning of Wednesday, May 24.

The lawmaker attended a meeting for the fisheries committee in the morning, and was spotted by a staffer in the Parliament’s cafe.

They said he appeared “rather drained”, adding that he was “sitting with someone”.

The staffer compared his situation to Ms Kaili’s, saying he was “clearly not as alone and untouchable” as the former Mega Channel newscaster.

While they are currently free to participate in their Parliamentary duties, EU authorities are still investigating whether foreign countries are involved in bribing EU officials.

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