Greek MEP admits asking father to get rid of €750k Qatar bribe money

Eva Kaili: Germany needs to redistribute Eurozone wealth fairly

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A Greek MEP admitted she asked her father to recover a vast sum of money from her house after learning that it was a bribe, her lawyer has revealed. Eva Kaili, 44, is expected to admit to a judicial hearing tomorrow she told her father to get rid of the “dirty money”, to the value of £659,000 ( €750,000), after her husband was arrested on suspicion of taking bribes from Qatar in exchange for favourable coverage in the European parliament. Ms Kaili has insistes she “has never in her life taken a bribe” and only learnt about the contents of her suitcase from her partner after he was arrested. 

Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, Ms Kaili’s lawyer in Greece, told a local radio station his client instructed colleagues of her husband to take the “dirty money” back after she allegedly found out about the corruption. 

The colleagues of Ms Kaili’s husband to which Mr Dimitrakopoulos referred are believed to be Pier Antonio Panzeri, the head of “Fight Impunity”, a Brussels-based human rights lobby group, and his peers. 

Belgian prosecutors are accusing Ms Kaili, her husband Francesco Giorgi, 35, Mr Panzeri and Niccolo Figa-Talamanca, an Italian human rights lobbyist who has been released on bail, of running a corruption and bribery network to influence European Union decisions to the benefit of Qatar.

Mr Dimitrakopoulos said: “When her husband was arrested, it was in a nearby area in the garage, they were together. It was not announced what the reason [for the arrest] was. 

“At that moment, she learned about the contents of the suitcase from her partner. One option was to turn him in to the police, the second was to take the money to its owner. She has no obligation to report her husband under European law.

“She called her father to come. ‘Come on now, take these things, go to your room in the hotel, and a man will come and get them.’” 

Ms Kaili was stripped of her office as European parliament vice-president after police seizures of £1.3 million (€1.5 million) in cash two weeks ago. 

Her father was arrested on December 9 in the Brussels Sofitel hotel with the suitcase full of cash. An arrest warrant issued on the same day for the Greek MEP and cited in Belgian media showed Ms Kaili admitted instructing her father to hide the money. 

Ms Kaili’s court appearance is scheduled for Thursday and it will be decided whether she will remain in custody pending her trial.

She is expected to plead her innocence and call for her release. 

She is hoping to spend Christmas with her two-year-old daughter after blaming the presence of allegedly “dirty money” in their property on her husband, who has reportedly confessed to his role in the corruption scandal. 

Mr Dimitrakopoulos, speaking to the local radio station, said the Greek MEP is innocent “without footnotes and asterisks”.

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In a statement to the press, the lawyer added Ms Kaili “never claimed that she knew or participated in the acts of which her partner is accused, never had ownership or possession of the money found in the shared apartment. She has never in her life taken a bribe.”

Ms Kaili’s father has been released but the Greek MEP, her partner and his former boss Mr Panzeri remain in Belgian prison. 

The case of corruption involving the recent World Cup hosts has been named “Qatargate” and centres on allegations that the Gulf state used cash and gifts to try to influence a looming visa liberalisation vote in the EU assembly. 

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