Greek MEP Eva Kaili and another three individuals arrested by Belgian authorities on charges of corruption will appear before a preliminary-investigating magistrate on Wednesday, the federal prosecutors’ office said on Monday.
Kaili and the others were arrested on Friday and are being detained.
The statement said that “to the present, six people had been called in for questioning. Four of these, including an MEP, have been detained.
These suspects will appear before the preliminary court section on Wednesday.” It added that large amounts of cash were confiscated in different places: 600,000 euros at a suspect’s house; several hundred thousand euros at a hotel in Brussels; and nearly 150,000 euros at an apartment belonging to an MEP.
Belgian federal investigating magistrates’ case has been ongoing for over four months and involves corruption, money laundering, and setting up a criminal organization. More searches were carried out on Monday, it said, in both Belgium and Italy. A total of 20 searches have been conducted (19 in private homes and one at European Parliament offices), it said.
According to media reports, the accusations relate to a foreign country’s attempt to curry favor with MEPs in order to promote favorable regulations.
MEP Kaili stripped of vice-presidency
In another development, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola stripped Kaili of her vice-presidential obligations and duties, in a brief statement to the Europarliament.
“Our way of open, free, democratic societies is under attack. The enemies of democracy (…) will stop at nothing. These malign actors, linked to autocractic third countries, have allegedly weaponized NGOs, unions, individuals, assistants and members of the European Parliament in an effort to subdue our processes. Their maliciouis plans failed,” Metsola said.
Without referring to Kaili directly, the Europarliament president said, “I accompanied a Belgian judge and police – as required by the Belgian constitution – to a house search last weekend. As a precautionary measure, again with full respect for the presumption of innocence, I have stripped the vice-president mentioned of any tasks and responsibilities related to their role as vice-president and I have convened an extraordinary meeting of the conference of presidents to launch an Article 21 procedure to bring their term as vice-president to an end, in an effort to protect the integirty of this House.”
Metsola also noted, “I was also scheduled today to announce the opening of the negotiating mandate for the visa-waiver report with Qatar and Kuwait. In light of the investigations, this report must be sent back to committee.”