A Greek MEP was suspended as Vice-President of the European Parliament Saturday over “corruption allegations involving Qatar” at the World Cup, which has ensnared four others and sparked calls for “root and branch reform” in the EU institution.
Kaili was detained on Friday in Brussels as part of a corruption probe, the Belgian edition of Le Soir reported.
Metsola said on Twitter, earlier on Saturday, that the parliament “stands firmly against corruption,” adding they would do everything they could to “assist the course of justice.”
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola “has decided to suspend with immediate effect all powers, duties, and tasks that were delegated to Eva Kaili in her capacity as Vice-President of the European Parliament,” a spokesperson said.
Four other people, including a former MEP, were detained on December 9 in Belgium, as part of an investigation into corruption and money laundering by an unidentified “Gulf country” at the EU parliament, the federal prosecutor’s office said.
No specific nation was specified at the time, but Belgian daily Le Soir said Qatari officials tried to corrupt an Italian Socialist who was a European parliament member from 2004 to 2019.
Investigators have for several months “suspected a Gulf country of influencing the economic and political decisions of the European Parliament, and this by transferring consequential sums of money or giving sizeable gifts to third parties with a significant and/or strategic position within the European Parliament,” the prosecutor’s office said.
The police said this was allegedly done “by paying large sums of money or offering large gifts to third parties with a significant political and/or strategic position within the European Parliament.”
“Among those arrested is a former member of the European Parliament,” it added but did not provide further details on the identity of those detained.
Reportedly, the competent authorities conducted a search at Kaili’s place of residence, also detaining her partner as both are being investigated in a corruption case.
Kaili was expelled from the Panhellenic Socialist Movement – Movement for Change (PASOK-KINAL) party in connection with an investigation into the corruption of European officials, as said by the party.