The European Parliament has taken the first step by dismissing one of its own vice presidents, Greek socialist Eva Kaili, amid allegations of corruption in Qatar, the World Cup host country.
Last Sunday, European Parliament Vice-President Eva Kaili and three others were charged and imprisoned in Belgium as part of a police investigation into alleged corruption linked to Qatar.
With the 44-year-old former TV news anchor still imprisoned in Brussels, her colleagues in Strasbourg are planning to vote to remove her from her position as vice president.
The parliament’s president, Maltese conservative Roberta Metsola, convened the leaders of political groups before calling on MEPs to vote “on the early termination of office of Vice President Eva Kaili”.
A Belgian judge will decide tomorrow whether to maintain her and three co-accused in custody pending her trial.
Belgian prosecutors said 600,000 euros ($630,000) were found at the home of one suspect, 150,000 euros at the flat of an MEP, and several hundred thousand euros in a suitcase in a hotel room.
Some of these “bags of cash” were found in Kaili’s home, a judicial source said, leading a judge to conclude that, as she had apparently been caught red-handed her parliamentary immunity would not apply.
A Belgian judicial source told AFP that investigators believe that figures representing Gulf monarchy Qatar had been paying off European politicians to burnish the country’s image.
Kaili’s lawyer Michalis Dimitrakopoulos told private Greek television channel Open TV: “Her position is she is innocent. She has nothing to do with Qatar’s bribes.”
Asked if any cash was found at Kaili’s home, Dimitrakopoulos said: “I am not confirming or denying. There is confidentiality. I have no idea if money was found or how much was found.”