Qatargate: Eva Kaili released from prison

Qatargate: Eva Kaili released from prison
Credit: Belga/ Jonas Roosens

Former Vice-President of the European Parliament Eva Kaili was released from prison on Friday morning and returned to her apartment in Ixelles, where she has been placed under electronic surveillance.

Kaili was arrested and imprisoned on 9 December 2022 as part of an investigation into Qatari influence and corruption within the European Parliament. She spent just over four months in prison. The examining magistrate Michel Claise decided on Wednesday to release Kaili, provided that she wears an electronic tracking bracelet.

The Qatari state is said to have paid large sums of money or offered substantial gifts to people occupying a political or strategic position within the European hemicycle, in a bid to gain influence within Europe.

Several officials have been charged in connection to the scandal, including Pier Antonio Panzeri, former MEP and founder of the NGO Fight Impunity, Eva Kaili, the former vice-president of the European Parliament, Francesco Giorgi, her partner and former parliamentary assistant to Panzeri, as well as the lobbyist Niccolo Figa-Talamanca and Luca Vinsentini, former general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation.

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Panzeri admitted to his role in the corruption scheme on 17 January and pledged to collaborate actively in the investigation. He admitted having received money from Qatar in exchange for influence for the country within the European Parliament. He accused Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella of involvement, claiming to have given him a sum of around €140,000 for his "help" in the scheme.

Tarabella has always disputed these accusations but was arrested on February 11, 2023, two months after the others. It is likely that all suspects will soon be released with ankle monitors.

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