Qatargate MEP Eva Kaili could be released on bail with electronic bracelet

Greek S&D MEP has spent four months in Belgian jail since Qatargate investigations blew lid off Qatari gifts for influence

Greek MEP Eva Kaili
Greek MEP Eva Kaili

Belgian justice has decided to release Greek MEP Eva Kaili on bail, with an electronic bracelet that will authorities to monitor her movements.

Kaili, a Greek socialist MEP arrested in the Qatargate scandal of monetary gifts for influence four months ago, is still inside the prison of Haren.

The former vice-president of the European Parliament will have stay away from her partner Francesco Giorgi, who was also released in late February after pleading guilty in the Qatargate scandal.

Kaili is expected to stay in a separate address with her child, while being allowed to have monitored telephone calls with her husband.

The alleged Qatargate mastermind, Pier Antonio Panzeri, her partner Giorgi and Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella were all released with an electronic bracelet. Kaili was the only remaining suspect in the case, still held in custody.

Panzeri and Giorgi have admitted their involvement in the scandal, but Kaili and Tarabella have insisted on their innocence.

Kaili insists that there is no evidence proving her guilt in the scandal. Spyros Pappas, the Brussels-based lawyer who defends Kaili in another case related to her assistants’ salaries in the European Parliament, insists that Kaili’s pre-trial detention was an unjustified obstruction of her parliamentary function. “Although her immunity was not lifted, in practice, it was violated both during the search of her home and during the search of the inviolable area of her offices at the European Parliament,” he said.

The scandal has rocked the European parliament, particularly the group of Socialists and Democrats.

The scandal centres around alleged influence buying by Qatar and Morocco. Since 10 December, Belgian federal police conducted a series of 20 raids across homes and offices in Brussels, seizing mobile phones, computers and more than €1.5 million in cash.

Kaili, who was elected to the EP in 2019 on the ticket of S&D’s Greek affiliate, denied any corruption on her part and claims not to know anything about a suitcase full of cash found at an apartment she shares with her partner.

Kaili was suspended from her role as vice president by EP President Roberta Metsola the moment she was arrested and later stripped of the role by MEPs in an almost unanimous vote.