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Politics

Greece Wants Panama Probe of 20 Million Euros Said Tied to Kaili

ATHENS  – Greece’s anti-money laundering agency has asked officials in Panama, a notorious hideout for stashing criminal cash – to investigate whether 20 million euros ($21.34 million) in a bank account belongs to jailed Member of the European Parliament Eva Kaili.

The request, said POLITICO, was made by the Charalampos Vourliotis, head of the authority that looks into cases of money being laundered to disguise its origins, in this case allegedly from Qatar and believed to be bribes.

Kaili remains in pre-trial custody in Belgium after she and her partner and two others were arrested after accusations of taking money from Qatar – which denied it – to try to influence the parliament and European Union.

At the time, Qatar was hosting the World Cup after critics said the country won the rights to the soccer championship by using bribery as well, which it has also denied.

The Greek agency, the report said, wants to know whether the account to which the money was sent was opened by Kaili or her family. Her father was briefly detained in Brussels after being found with 600,000 euros ($640,086) in cash in a suitcase.

Another 150,000 euros ($160,021) in cash was found in her Brussels apartment but her partner,  Francesco Giorgi, reportedly confessed to taking bribes from Qatar and tried to absolve her, saying she knew nothing about it.

Shortly after Kaili’s arrest, Greece’s anti-money laundering authority froze all assets belonging to Kaili and her family.

Vourliotis’ request came after posts began circulating on social media that were then picked up by Spanish and Greek media, seeming to show banking documents for Panamian accounts belonging to Kaili and her family members receiving deposits originating in Qatar, the report said.

The posts alleged that the accounts were held at the Bladex Bank of Panama and belonged to Kaili, her father Alexandros Kailis and her mother Maria Ignatiadou, but her lawyer Michalis Dimitrakopoulos said they were fake.

He said she is innocent after other reports said she felt betrayed by her partner. Dimitrakopoulos said he asked Greek officials to request assistance from Panama “in order to establish the forgery of the documents of the mythical remittances from Qatar to Eva Kaili.”

Vourliotis asked Panama officials to check whether there are any accounts under Kaili or her family members’ names, as well as copies of their financial transactions, and whether there are any safety deposit boxes held at Panamanian banks belonging to the family, and whether there’s evidence of investments made in real estate, the news site said.

Greek authorities also seized a 2.47 acre prime plot of land on the island of Paros bought by Kaili and her partner, and the account used to purchase it but her lawyer said it was bought with her income.

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