ATHENS – Greek Member of the European Parliament Eva Kaili, who was detained during an investigation into alleged bribery by Qatar to buy influence, has denied any involvement or wrongdoing.
She was stripped of her duties as a Vice-President, ejected from her PASOK party in Greece and suspended by the Parliament’s Socialists & Democrats who had been reluctant to be tough on the World Cup host Qatar.
Kaili, who went to Qatar, returned to make a provocative defense on the floor of Parliament of the country’s labor rights record despite reports as many as 6500 foreign workers died building facilities for the soccer tourney.
She – along with her partner Francesco Giorgi, who works as a parliamentary assistant, and Italian former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, were also taken in for questioning as the probe widened
Belgian investigators found 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million) in raids in two homes, including earlier reports that police caught Kaili’s father carrying 500,000 euros ($532,860) in a suitcase at a hotel and had found another 150,000 euros ($159,860) at her Brussels home.
Qatar, which has tried to fend off criticism of bribing its way into hosting the World Cup, has denied any wrongdoing, as did Kaili. Her lawyer Michalis Dimitrakopoulos told Greek TV that she “declares her innocence and that she has nothing to do with bribery from Qatar, without mentioning the cash.
There was uncontested evidence, he added in a later statement, that “every move, contact and statement made by Eva Kaili regarding Qatar was made in execution and application of the official policy of the European Union.”