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29 May, 2024
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Eva Kaili: From city council to city prison

The rise and fall of the 'good' student from Thessaloniki

by Pavlos Papadopoulos

Eva Kaili first encountered Friedrich Nietzsche's ideas when she was 12 years old. She took out "Tade efi Zarathustra" from the family library and read it. This book by a German philosopher from the 19th century develops some risky concepts. Zarathustra proclaims that 'God is dead' and that man must 'destroy himself' to create 'Superman'. The manifestation of the "will to power" leads to the transcendence of the self. Nietzsche's ideas are vague, and there is room for interpretation. A child runs the risk of taking so much "cash" for the "will to power" that he will eventually be found in possession of illegal cash.

Despite the barrage of criticism that Kaili was a "Barbie"...because of her appearance and connections to wealthy businessmen, Kaili was not that at all. She was tenacious and persistent.

The former Vice-President of the European Parliament was born on 26 October 1978 in the Syntrivani area of Thessaloniki. Alexandros, her father, was born in Polis and attended the Zographio Lyceum. He studied electrical engineering at Aristotle University and had Eva at the age of 23. Her mother, Maria, of Pontus origin, is a poet and a graduate of the Theatre School of the State Theatre of Northern Greece (KTHVE). Madalena, her younger sister, is a lawyer and the CEO of ELONTech. This is a non-profit organization that provides "legal advice" on EU regulatory policy on emerging technologies (the website has been "taken down").

"It was a middle-class family with average wealth. Coincidentally, since Eva entered politics, her financial situation has improved "K is informed by a source familiar with the urban human geography of the capital city. Let's not ponder the number of other political families that have experienced similar coincidences, from the parliament to the last village. Let's focus only on the day's faces. Even if we emphasize that the salaries of the MEPs are not insignificant, there are still shadows.

According to rumors, Eva accepted the apple given to her by a "cursed serpent" from Qatar in exchange for her support on the topic of eliminating visa requirements for entry into Europe from the nation, which was going to be discussed in the European Parliament (and has now gone to the Greek courts). Qatar disputes any involvement in the scandal. Before being detained, the vice president was able to vehemently defend the nation in front of the European Parliament against charges of World Cup rigging, anti-gay discrimination, and the deaths of hundreds of construction workers due to the oppressive heat while building the stadiums.

15 member and a Café Sante

As a young girl, Kaili was quiet and read a lot. She fluctuated in weight, so she wasn't always attractive. She "blossomed," however, in high school. She was not only the class valedictorian and straight-A student, but she was also chosen to lead the 15-member council. The 15-member councils of the day were masters of sit-ins and a haven for talent that later enriched mainstream politics. Eva later enrolled at the Aristotle University of Technology to study architecture.  When Eva turned 20, a professor at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Spyros Vougias, who was also a traffic engineer, ran for mayor of Thessaloniki in 1998. Although he had the Coalition's backing, he gave off the impression that he was an "independent".

The 45-year-old Vougias had a bohemian intellectual appearance. He looked like something out of a serial and spoke with a Thermaic Gulf accent and rhythm. He claimed he would forgo the usual party speech in favor of a "love speech that appeals to everyone without distinction." He selected café Santé, which he renamed café Politic, as his polling place. He thought that political discussion should take place in café-bars in order to make a bigger impact.

Kaili, a PASP member, went to the bar. Her green eyes were able to spot successful radical thinkers in the cigarette smoke. Vougias earned 15% of the votes. He switched to PASOK in 2000, at which point he was elected to the State Parliament. He repeated the "erotic campaign" in 2002 with the song combo "Daybreak."  He was awarded 27.9% of the votes. Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, who received 54.2% of the vote, was the "stable value" that Thessaloniki voters preferred from the first Sunday; however, Eva was elected councilor.

The enormous popularity of Elena Rapti of the New Democracy, who was running for office for the first time, in the context of the profound renewal supported by Kostas Karamanlis, presented a strategic challenge for PASOK in Thessaloniki in 2004. The insiders determined that Eva was the best response. Although George Papandreou, who was running in both Athens and Thessaloniki, was chosen last, he preferred the Thessaloniki seat. Perhaps because he was aware that the savage from the north supported Evangelos Venizelos, he excluded Eva from the parliament. Without, of course, depriving herself of visits to Antonis Remos concerts, Eva made the most of her free time by pursuing a master's degree in international and European studies at the University of Piraeus.

She arrived at the Mega Channel studio thanks to the fame she attained. She presided over the weekend newscast for two years. Insiders described a young lady as intelligent, diligent, and classy. In 2007, she defeated Akis Tsochatzopoulos in the vote and was elected to parliament, leaving the legendary PASOK leader out. Columnists for Akis' friends were shocked by the development and referred to it as the "end of an era." In the end, not much changed during the era. Following was the civil war between Papandreou and Venizelos. Eva stands up and beats a drum at a Venizelos rally, possibly drawing inspiration from Richard Strauss' "Zarathustra" this time. A drum beat signals the arrival of Superman at the start of the symphonic poem.

After Cannes

In 2009, Eva was re-elected. She then wrote an open letter in 2011 urging Papandreou to step down and support a coalition government as soon as it was made known that he was planning a referendum on the implementation of the revised stabilization program. Socrates Xynidis, the secretary of PASOK at the time, responded by labeling her a "sockpuppet." He was reported by Kaili for engaging in sexist behavior to the Parliament's Disciplinary Board. She then identified politically with Venizelos. Later, she started to put herself in a distance. The tragic case of Kaili is, according to Venizelos today, "unthinkable politically, institutionally, and morally."

Despite the barrage of criticism that Kaili was a "Barbie" and definitely not a villainous star because of her appearance and connections to wealthy businessmen, Kaili was not that at all. She was tenacious and persistent. She didn't hesitate to argue with people on some occasions. When Venizelos, the president of PASOK, chose Thessaloniki as his seat in June 2012, she almost got into a fight with him. The politician had just won re-election in Thessaloniki's first chamber, first in crosses, but was once again excluded from the legislature.

The people decided to make up for the "injustice" by awarding Eva first place in the "Elia" category in the 2014 European elections (over 120,000). So began her career in Europe. She had already been located by the foreign "bloodhounds." She was dubbed "Europe's sexiest politician" on the website of the British Sun newspaper in 2011. With 145,000 votes, she was re-elected in 2019. (but came second to Nikos Androulakis).

She demonstrated her tenacity in Europe. She was chosen to serve as one of the European Parliament's fourteen vice presidents, and in 2021, she was thinking about running for PASOK president. She was active in new technologies in Europe as well. He frequently presented himself as an authority on bitcoin. If Eva had known about bitcoin, she would have received it in bitcoin, a politician sarcastically remarked to K. There has recently been talk that he will join the New Republic. She played down the controversy surrounding the chairman of her party's cell phone surveillance during the summer. Androulakis hesitated before deleting it, which he later regretted.


The investments Eva Kaili lists under her "maiden name" are some real estate and "meager" deposits totaling about 500,000 euros. Despite her busy schedule in Brussels, she managed to find time in November to launch a real estate firm in Kolonaki with her business partner Francesco Giorgio. As K revealed, the couple went ahead and paid 300,000 euros for a property in Paros at the beginning of the year. Few people today would still think that purchasing real estate wasn't just another way to legitimize hidden funds through fictitious overcharging.

Eva and Francesco signed a civil partnership in 2020. They had a daughter, Ariadne, in early 2021. "Now it takes organization to make it," Fofi Gennimata told Eva when she called to wish her on the birth of her child. The 160,000 euros in her possession was allegedly discovered hidden in the child's crib. Her lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, known for rescuing prominent people, denies the information about the stash. He also denies Eva was aware of the scandal. He attributes it to her Italian "improvisations" with her partner.

Giorgi, 35, was an associate of former Italian MEP Antonio Panzeri. Panzeri established the Brussels-based non-governmental organization "Fight Impunity" in 2019 to address international issues of human rights violations. 600,000 euros were seized in the house of Panzeri, who "fought impunity" alongside Giorgi. Meanwhile, authorities were lurking outside the Kaili-Giorgi house, and when Giorgi came out, they arrested him, confiscated his phone, and informed his wife of the arrest. The wife informed her father, who was at the Sofitel Hotel with some cash in his arms. Alexander Kailis was thrown into the street, probably heading elsewhere in the city. He was apprehended with a suitcase containing 600,000 euros.

The raid

The raid on the couple's home came after Kaili's father's arrest, which was used to lift the immunity of his daughter. Simultaneously, the homes of "extras" in the drama as well as Belgian MEP Mark Tarabella were raided. The protagonists appeared to have received payment for their human rights advocacy in real-time, and the Belgian authorities moved before the suitcases left the country. The Black Money Laundering Authority in Greece has frozen Kaili's, her partner's, and her family's assets. The politician was transferred from the European Parliament to the Aren prison outside of Brussels in a single day.

"Eva Kaili is a child of the era of 'Greek neo-plutocracy,' where corruption is equivalent to a human right for a segment of society," a former parliamentarian tells K. When political influence spreads to the economy, generation after generation (in this case, father and daughter) may come to the same conclusion: that hard work does not lead to economic rehabilitation in the same way that turning political influence into kickbacks handled in bags does. Perhaps many will quietly acquiesce to the game's unbreakable rules or rise from the "felt" and flee abroad once they realize how it is played.

Eva did both - she went abroad, where she discovered even more opportunities for excellence. "European democracy is under attack," said Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament. Some Nietzsche readers, filled with a 'will to power,' have found themselves in the paradise of European democracy, where lurking serpents hold apples of knowledge. However, because 'God is dead,' they believed that impunity reigned. Except God isn't dead and occasionally appears in the form of a prosecutor. 

[This article first appeared in Kathimerini's Sunday edition (18/12) and has been translated from its Greek original]

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