Qatargate. Cartoon of 17/12/2022 in CTXT.
Another nice case of alleged bribery, money laundering and corruption. This time within the European Parliament. The Belgian Federal Criminal Police seized nearly one and a half million euros in various searches in Brussels.
Eva Kaili, one of the Parliament’s vice-presidents, was arrested and accused of accepting a bundle of banknotes, possibly from Qatar, and it is said that it is probably for some kind of World Cup deal, or who knows. Qatar denies it all for a change.
The Greek government has frozen Kaili’s assets and she has been suspended by the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. She has also been expelled from PASOK.
Other arrests have been made and searches have been carried out at various addresses, including the seat of the European Parliament. Belgian Socialist MEP Marc Tarabella, who has been suspended by his party pending further investigation, has also been questioned. At least four people have already been charged.
Eva Kaili’s partner, a posh man named Francesco Giorgi, has also been arrested. Giorgi is a parliamentary assistant in the European Parliament and director of the NGO Fight against Impunity, which fights corruption (sic). Police found 150,000 euros in cash stashed in luxury handbags and travel bags during a search of the home he shares with Kaili.
Some media outlets, such as the French daily Le Soir, report that Eva Kaili’s boyfriend has admitted that he was involved, along with Eva Kaili, in a network of influence peddling and bribery organised by Morocco and Qatar to influence parliamentary decisions.
Kaili’s father was also arrested outside his hotel with a suitcase full of banknotes, but was released after spending the night in detention.
Another of those arrested is Pier Antonio Panzeri, former MEP and president of “Lucha contra la Impunidad”. Police found 600,000 euros in cash at his home. The identity of the fourth detainee has not yet been revealed.
The shadow of suspicion now hangs over José Ramón Bauzá, as he may have taken some gifts. Such were the“groups of friends” of the European Parliament, very “friends of their friends”.
These unofficial groupings or “friendship groups”, which are not officially recognised, are not to be confused with intergroups, as the Parliament’s website cleverly warns.