Kathimerini Greece Newsroom
The Belgian judiciary has arrested four people as part of an investigation into a corruption case involving bribery from Qatar, while two others have been released.
The arrests were made for "participation in a criminal organization, money laundering, and corruption," according to a statement.
According to the Belgian newspaper L'Echo, among those arrested is Eva Kaili, vice-president of the European Parliament. Mrs. Kaili has actually been remanded in custody, according to the headline.
What Belgian authorities have to say
According to the statement, "there are suspicions that third parties in political and/or strategic positions within the European Parliament received large sums of money or were offered substantial gifts to influence European Parliament decisions."
It goes on: "The investigator in charge of the investigation in Brussels has arrested four people. They are charged with criminal organization membership, money laundering, and corruption. The investigator released two people." "A search was also conducted at the home of a second MP around 20:00 the night before," according to the statement.
The statement concludes by noting that no further information will be provided for the time being, but that the press will be kept up to date with any new developments.
The European Parliament's response
It should be noted that Ms. Kaili has been detained since Friday night. Eva Kaili's suspension from her role as Vice-President of the European Parliament was announced by Roberta Metsola, the President of the European Parliament, on Saturday.
She specifically informed the Greek MEP of her suspension following the investigations in a letter. "With immediate effect, I have decided to suspend all the powers, obligations, and tasks entrusted to you in your capacity as Vice-President of the European Parliament in light of the ongoing judicial investigation."
Ms. Kaili's position as Vice-President of the European Parliament has been called into question by the President of the Social Democrats. The Social Democrats announced on Twitter that they will invoke Rule 21 of the European Parliament's Rules of Procedure at the next Conference of Presidents to remove Ms. Kaili from her position.
Perez also emphasizes that, while the authorities' investigations are ongoing, Eva Kaili must be replaced in order to protect the institution's credibility and avoid losing citizens' trust.
This comes after she was kicked out of PASOK and the European Socialist Group.
In addition to Eva Kaili, five people were arrested and detained by Belgian authorities as part of the Office for the Suppression of Corruption's investigation in Brussels.
Ms. Kaili's partner, Francesco Giorgio, and her father are said to be among them.
According to the Belgian newspaper L'Echo, Mrs. Kaili was arrested in the act, as this is the only way to override parliamentary immunity. According to the same sources, 'bags of banknotes' were discovered in her home.
According to reports, Ms. Kaili had been under surveillance since last summer, when authorities began gathering evidence. The tangle of revelations began to unravel from former socialist MEP Pierre Antonio Panceri and some conversations he had with his family, according to Belgian and Italian media.
The arrests were made as part of the Anti-Corruption Bureau's investigation in Brussels into a case of corruption and bribery by Qatari officials within the European Parliament.
Luca Vincenzini, the newly appointed General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), who led the European Trade Union Confederation for 11 years, was also arrested (ETUC). The fifth person is Nicolo Figga Talamanca, the director of the non-governmental organization "No Peace Without Justice."
MEP Mark Tarabella's home was raided last night; he is not in custody.
Economou on Androulakis
"Mr. Androulakis' position defies logic. It transcends all dimensions. Ms. Kaili's case is extremely serious. We'll have to wait for the final announcements and see where it goes from there," Yannis Economou stated on ANT1 about the Kaili case.
"Nevertheless, it is a case involving a PASOK member, a Kinal member, and a Eurosocialist group member who had been working closely with Mr. Androulakis, not just yesterday or the day before, but since 2014. I understand that the case of Ms. Kaili casts a political, legal, and moral shadow in this area. I understand that this creates a difficult and unpleasant environment. If what we have heard is true, it is not pleasant for members of your party to be investigated for bribery. But the way out of this awkward situation is not to make up ridiculous things," the government spokesman added.