The European Parliament corruption probe ensnared the celebrity Greek politician, who has been detained since December.
Belgium (Brussels, Morning Newspaper) Eva Kaili, the Greek MEP involved in a corruption scandal in the European Parliament, has been granted release from prison after more than four months of detention. Kaili was placed under house arrest with an electronic bracelet after her release.
Her arrest, along with four other individuals, was part of an investigation into an alleged cash-for-favors scheme that involved large sums of money and substantial gifts allegedly paid by Qatar and Morocco to influence European policy-making.
Both countries deny any wrongdoing. Over €1.5 million in cash were seized by the Belgian police across dozens of home and office searches.
Kaili was charged with participation in a criminal organization, corruption, and money laundering. She was the last defendant to be granted conditional release from prison. Her defense team, composed of Belgian and Greek lawyers, had contested her continued imprisonment, and her party membership was suspended after her arrest. Kaili will undergo regular hearings, which will determine whether her electronic surveillance will be prolonged or revoked.
After Wednesday’s decision, Kaili will soon join her fellow suspects with an electronic tag under house arrest, leaving Haren prison, in the north of Brussels. The transfer process normally takes several days.
Once out, she will head back to her apartment mere steps from the European Parliament — the institution she stands accused of helping corrupt.
“I can confirm to you that Mrs. Eva Kaili can go home because she was put under electronic monitoring by investigative judge Claise,” said Sven Mary, Kaili’s lawyer, referencing the Belgian judge leading the probe, Michel Claise. “At the moment, I don’t want to give any further comment besides that this decision seems only logical to me.”
Giorgi, Kaili’s partner, is also out of jail under house arrest but is not living in Kaili’s apartment, according to two people familiar with the arrangement.
Kaili’s release starts a new chapter in the authorities’ monthslong attempt to sort out who may have been under the sway of foreign governments while working in Parliament. But it doesn’t mean that the process is moving toward a trial any time soon, said Christian De Valkeneer, a professor of criminal law at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.