Maybe Eva Kaili, now an ex-Vice President of the European Parliament and booted from Greece’s red-faced PASOK Anti-Socialists, facing charges of taking bribes from Qatar, has a logical explanation why police said she had 150,000 euros in her Brussels home and her father had 600,000 more in a suitcase at a hotel.
With degrees in architecture and civil engineering, a Masters of Art in International and European Affairs – and a stalled PhD program – nobody could accuse her of the unfair and cruel caricature of being a dumb blonde, but she could be a greedy one, even her peers are saying.
She is, of course, presumed innocent until, or if, found guilty of charges that once again propelled Greece into headlines across the European Union and the world as the new Poster Girl of Graft.
She’s got some ‘splainin’ to do beyond her lawyer saying she proclaimed her innocence and it took about 10 seconds for embarrassed PASOK to boot her.
But that was weeks after she visited Qatar and went on the floor of the Parliament to praise the labor rights of a murderous regime where it was reported some 6,500 foreign workers died building facilities for the World Cup. Qatar denies everything, of course, but Kaili might want to have a food taster.
She was detained along with three others, including her partner, a parliamentary assistant, Francesco Giorgi. He’s one of the founders of the – get this – anti-corruption group Fight Impunity, whose head is another Italian and former MEP Antonio Panzeri, also taken in for questioning.
This affair is very bad news for PASOK head Nikos Androulakis, who resurrected the half-dead party’s fortunes and gained sympathy after the National Intelligence Service EYP admitted bugging his phone and an attempt was made to install Predator spyware on it.
It’s very good news for Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis because now the spotlight is on Kaili – just before Androulakis said she was about to jump ship from the center-left to the center-right ruling New Democracy.
If she had already done so, it would be Mitsotakis dealing with her baggage and not Androulakis, who is said to be trying to get into bed with the major opposition SYRIZA in hopes of forming a coalition if there’s a hung election in mid-2023.
If you’re following all this we’ll send you a copy of Abbot and Costello’s Who’s on First to decrypt and you’re eligible to work for EYP bugging phones of anyone the government wants in the interest of ‘national security’.
This is all fun and games for journalists and anti-corruption groups but Greeks could care less because they’re trying to pick out generic dog food to eat with supermarket prices so high that even someone who’s been bribed can’t afford them.
Why is anyone surprised that Qatar is allegedly bribing European Parliament lawmakers and staff to buy influence ahead of a vote to give Qataris visa-free travel in the EU, which would have been convenient while carrying large bags of cash?
Qatar was accused of bribing officials of FIFA, the world body governing Sissyball, to get the World Cup – said the U.S. Department of Justice – but that was ignored because what can we do? We need the soccer.
You haven’t heard a peep out of the Greek government because Qatar is a provider of liquefied natural gas (LNG) which Greece needs as an alternative to Russian supplies exempted from EU sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine, but with worry that Russian President Vladimir Rasputin will pull the plug.
The government wants to turn the growing northern port of Alexandroupolis into an LNG hub for the EU as well as building its own supplies, so Kaili doesn’t matter when it comes to making sure there’s heat and lights this winter ahead of elections.
Kaili will stay in jail until a Dec. 22 hearing to give her enough time to prepare a defense beyond perhaps her saying that when she gets stressed it helps to caress her cash, which could take all night if it’s 600,000 euros.
This whole tawdry affair has besmirched Greece – again – and there’s so many scandals here that you need a scorecard bigger than how many bribes Qatar has paid to keep track of them.
There was predictable outrage at the European Parliament, where lawmakers have been accused of filing false expense account reports and rake in so much money that the Mexican drug cartel could launder it for them.
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola – who’s done almost nothing about media freedom in her homeland of Malta after taking office – told the lawmakers
(and some lawbreakers) of her anger over the reports.
“Make no mistake, the European Parliament, dear colleague, is under attack. European democracy is under attack,” Metsolsa said during the opening of December’s plenary session, struggling to contain her anger.
It’s good news for the Parliament and Greece, though, that this happened with the holidays coming because it’s going to leave the headlines faster than you can say spyware scandal.
Kaili’s lawyer Michalis Dimitrakopoulos told Reuters that, “she says she feels betrayed when they make her appear as if she had a personal agenda with Qatar and when they hint that she was taking bribes.” A blonde walks into a bar …