The arrest of MEP Eva Kaili on corruption charges involving a Gulf state has sparked media frenzy over the weekend, with Qatar refuting reports that the world cup host is involved while Belgian officials have not named the country that allegedly attempted to bribe the crypto ally.
Belgian prosecutors charged Kaili, a European Parliament Vice President, and three others with corruption on Sunday in a major investigation into an alleged illicit influence campaign by a Gulf state.
“It is suspected that third parties in political and/or strategic positions within the European Parliament were paid large sums of money or offered substantial gifts to influence Parliament’s decisions,” Belgian prosecutors said on Sunday.
Kaili, known as EU’s blockchain booster, has been spearheading efforts for legislation on cryptocurrency in Europe, where lawmakers demand greater transparency for all transactions
European media cited sources alleging the country in question was Qatar, which plays host to the World Cup football tournament this year, with reports pointing to Kaili’s favorable comments towards Doha.
Qatar’s foreign ministry issued a statement on Sunday denying reports on the state’s alleged involvement in bribery.
“The State of Qatar categorically rejects any attempts to associate it with accusations of misconduct,” said a Qatari statement on Twitter.
Kaili, a Greek national known as EU’s blockchain booster, has been spearheading efforts for legislation on cryptocurrency in Europe, with lawmakers demanding greater transparency in the old continent for all transactions big or small.
Last month at a conference in the United Arab Emirates, Kaili was invited to speak on a panel on leadership in a changing world.
The Gulf States have recently been investing a lot into new efforts to reinvent themselves as tech hubs.
Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been eyeing efforts to create a regulatory environment that would be attractive to digital assets activity.
The charges against Kaili came two days after police made the arrests and seized computers, mobile phones, and €600,000 in cash during searches at 16 properties across Brussels.