Eva Kaili was arrested in Belgium on 9/12/2022. She is from Greece. She has been a Member of European Parliament since 2014 and was Vice President of European Parliament. When I first read about her arrest, I thought she was the only Vice President of European Parliament so a very important person. Usually, a Parliament does not have multiple Deputy Speakers or Vice Presidents. Later I came to know she was one of the 14 Vice Presidents of European Parliament and so not that very important.
Belgian police raided 16 homes and arrested four others. They included Kaili’s partner Franceso Giorgi and Kaili’s father Alexandros. Luca Visentini and Pier Antonio Panzeri were other two. It is alleged that Eva Kaili took bribe from Qatar. Belgian police from 9/12/2022 onwards seized computer data belonging to 10 parliamentary assistants, 6,00,000 euros at one home, 1,000 euros in a suitcase and 1,50,000 euros in an apartment of one MEP.
In the days that followed Roberta Metsola, President of European Parliament, took away Eva Kaili’s powers and assigned them to others. European Parliament removed her as Vice President. Greece froze her assets. Her party PASOK said it was expelling her. Belgian police searched European Parliament offices on 12/12/2022.
The raids and arrests happened when Football World Cup is going on in Qatar. Many were not happy that Qatar became host and about the rules in force in Qatar. Qatar denied charges of bribery. It claimed it operated in complete compliance with international laws and regulations. The arrests led to pause on vote for granting Qataris visa-free access to Europe.
European politicians take moral high ground and lecture others about corruption. Eva Kaili’s arrest has shown that they are not better than others. Vitor Teixeira of Transparency International said European Parliament has sub-par integrity and anti-fraud rules. He said he would not be surprised if more people are involved.