EBN – Eva Kaili, the Greek Member of the European Parliament (MEP), has initiated legal action against the Belgian justice system.
Her lawsuit alleges that Belgium’s police and secret services violated her parliamentary immunity during her arrest last December.
In a Brussels court, Kaili launched her case, mirroring the actions of two fellow MEPs entangled in the same scandal. Belgium’s Marc Tarabella and Italy’s Andrea Cozzolino have both taken such legal routes.
The trio face accusations of accepting substantial sums from Qatari and Moroccan officials.
These funds are alleged to have been exchanged for influencing decisions within the European Parliament, a case known as Qatargate.
Crucially, Pier Antonio Panzeri has already admitted involvement in a criminal organisation and has cooperated with prosecutors. He also offered details in exchange for leniency for himself and his family.
Meanwhile, Kaili, along with the governments of Qatar and Morocco, categorically denies all allegations. Indeed, the potential impact of these legal challenges is significant.
Impact on Corruption Case
Should the courts determine that the MEPs’ parliamentary immunities were violated, the entire Qatargate corruption case could be jeopardised.
Eva Kaili’s lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, elaborated on their legal objections, stating, “The objections are based on two pillars.”
“One is that Eva Kaili’s right to immunity from the Belgian secret services has been violated,” he said. “The second…is that the investigator in the case, Michel Claise, had a basic stumbling block to not being an investigator”
The attorney suggested a potential conflict of interest due to Claise’s son’s ties to another MEP involved in the scandal.
Eva Kaili Case: Legal Challenges
Kaili’s legal journey began with her arrest, followed by four months in jail and an additional month of house arrest.
She was subsequently removed from the Socialists & Democrats groups and stripped of her Vice-President position at the European Parliament.
However, in July, she returned to the plenary in Strasbourg as an unaffiliated MEP.
Recently, Kaili attended a closed-door hearing of the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI).
The session discussed the European Prosecutor’s request to lift her immunity in relation to another case. The case involved allegations of fraud related to the management of her parliamentary allowance, particularly concerning assistant compensation.
Spiros Pappas, Kaili’s lawyer for EU affairs, emphasised the broader significance of these legal actions.
The decision of the Legal Affairs Committee is anticipated by November. However, delays are expected in the Belgian justice system, possibly extending into 2024.