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20 May, 2024
 
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Legal challenge threatens Qatargate corruption case

Former European Parliament VP's bold move could derail high-stakes scandal

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Nine months into the Qatargate legal case, Eva Kaili, a former vice president of the European Parliament, has initiated a legal challenge that could potentially derail the entire investigation. Kaili, who was arrested and charged with corruption in December, alleges that the police and spy services acted illegally when pursuing her. She claims that her parliamentary immunity was breached when she was arrested, and her lawyers have filed a request for a "legal check of the procedure" with the federal prosecutor's office. This challenge will be considered by three independent judges.

Kaili's lawyers argue that the investigators should have formally requested the Parliament to lift her immunity before initiating any legal proceedings. Instead, her immunity was removed when she was caught in the act of committing an offense. The unexpected resignation of the lead investigating judge in June further complicated the case.

If the judges rule that the evidence was collected illegitimately, it may not be admissible in court. Kaili's legal push has garnered support from other MEPs facing charges in the Qatargate scandal, raising doubts about the viability of the case against those accused, even if they are proven guilty.

However, a legal precedent in Belgium suggests that evidence irregularly collected does not automatically lead to the annulment of the entire investigation; it depends on the seriousness of the irregularity. The slow-moving Belgian legal system may take several months to decide on the defense lawyers' claims.

Additionally, the case faces challenges in prosecuting diplomats accused of corrupting politicians. Qatari Labor Minister Ali Bin Samikh Al Marri and Moroccan diplomat Abderrahim Atmoun, both implicated in the case, have diplomatic immunity and are unlikely to appear in court. While some suspects have confessed to involvement in corruption schemes, the case's outcome remains uncertain.

The legal challenge by Kaili and her supporters adds another layer of complexity to the Qatargate case, raising questions about the investigation's future and the fate of those implicated.

[Information sourced from Politico]

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Cyprus  |  Qatargate  |  corruption  |  EU

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