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European Parliament vice-president arrested on corruption charges
The Belgian police has conducted a sweeping operation to probe into allegations of corruption in the European Parliament implicating Qatar. On Friday, 7 December, 16 police searches were carried out in Brussels and Italy
Greek Socialist MEP and European Parliament vice-president Eva Kaili (photo) was arrested in flagrant offence for corruption and money laundering, Her father was caught red-handed with bags of cash. The overall amount seized adds up to 600,000 euros. Her partner and former Italian MEP Antonio Panzeri, plus her parliamentary assistant, Belgian national Marie Arena, were also placed in police custody.
The Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament immediately announced they had suspended their membership.
Mr. Panzeri is the former chairman of the European Parliament’s Sub-Committee on Human Rights. He chairs the Belgian association Fight Impunity and is a member of the Elie Wiesel Network of parliamentarians for the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities and against genocide denial.
This police operation occurred in the midst of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. According to investigators, this emirate has been engaged in a diplomacy of corruption for numerous years. dSeveral computers and cell phones were also seized, which should dredge up further information. The telephone conversations of parliamentary assistants have been monitored for a year, allowing multiple cross-checks.
The European Parliament is scheduled to meet on 12 December in Strasbourg. Its agenda includes visa liberalization for citizens of Kuwait and Qatar, a motion which will be difficult to adopt in the present circumstances.