Qatar corruption scandal: Partner of suspected MEP Kaili confesses to receiving bribes

Qatar corruption scandal: Partner of suspected MEP Kaili confesses to receiving bribes
Credit: Francesco Giorgi/Instagram/Belga

The partner of Greek MEP Eva Kaili — one of the figures at the centre of a corruption scandal that has convulsed European politics over the past week — has confessed to receiving illicit funds from the Moroccan and Qatari Governments, according to court documents seen by Le Soir and La Repubblica.

Francesco Giorgi, a 35-year-old parliamentary assistant to MEP Andrea Cozzolino and previous advisor to former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri (another key individual implicated in the scandal), reportedly told federal investigators that his partner, with whom he has a young child, was not guilty of any wrongdoing.

"I did everything for money I didn't need," Giorgi admitted, adding: "I will do everything possible so that my partner is free and can take care of our 22-month-old daughter."

Federal investigators recently discovered €150,000 in cash during a search of Kaili and Giorgi's Brussels apartment earlier this week. A further €600,000 was found in a suitcase carried by Kaili's father as he was leaving the Sofitel hotel in downtown Brussels.

Despite exonerating Kaili, Giorgi explicitly implicated both Panzeri and Cozzolino in the scandal, as well as current Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella, whose house was raided by federal police earlier this week.

Legal reactions

Giorgi's version of events was corroborated by Kaili's lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos: "Ms Kaili's partner is the only one who can explain to whom this money belonged, why it was found in their house, and what it was used for. Eva Kaili has nothing to do with this money."

In his explanation for why Kaili's father was caught by Belgian police leaving a luxury hotel with a suitcase filled with hundreds of thousands of euros in cash, Dimitrakopoulos suggested that the money was being transported from, rather than to, the Kaili residence.

"When Kaili saw the money and did not get a convincing answer about its origin, she immediately demanded that the money leave the house," Dimitrakopoulos said. "Her father undertook the effort to be the carrier because there was no one else who would do it."

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Contacted by Le Soir, Panzeri's lawyer, Laurent Kenes, condemned the reporting.

"My only reaction is that it is extraordinary that you have access to these court documents but that we do not," Laurent Kenes said. He added that the publication of the details of the court documents constitutes a "violation" of Panzeri's legal rights.

Tarabella's lawyer, Maxim Töller, stated that his client "totally denies that he ever received the slightest amount of money from anyone." Cozzolino's lawyer was not available for comment.

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