Belgian prosecutors refuse release of Eva Kaili, her lawyers


Agencies – The Belgian federal prosecutor’s office on Thursday opposed the release of Greek MEP Eva Kaili, who had been incarcerated for six weeks as part of the alleged corruption scandal in the European Parliament involving Qatar in particular, her lawyers announced. Before the Brussels Council Chamber, which sat behind closed doors, the lawyers of the socialist elected official asked for alternative measures to pre-trial detention “such as the electronic bracelet,” said one of them, André Risopoulos, at the end of the hearing.

But the public prosecutor’s position was “firmly negative,” the lawyer added. “The federal prosecutor’s office believes that all risks exist; the risk of flight, the risk of collusion with third parties and the risk of destruction of evidence,” continued Mr. Risopoulos. The Council Chamber, the investigation and pre-trial detention control court, was to make its decision at the end of the day.

Eva Kaili, 44, who fell in mid-December as Vice-President of the European Parliament, is among the four people imprisoned in this scandal called “Qatargate” but in which Morocco is also cited. She is suspected of having received large sums of cash from foreign powers to influence the statements and positions in the European Parliament in favor of these countries.

Ms. Kaili denies any corruption, her lawyers repeated on Thursday, who accuse the Belgian justice system for making her “pay the highest price” by keeping him in detention “in difficult conditions”. His Greek lawyer Michalis Dimitrakopoulos denounced ” Torture” about a recent “isolation for sixteen hours in a police cell” during a hearing.

According to Risopoulos, the imprisoned Greek elected official was able to see “only twice in six weeks her 23-month-old child” that she had with her companion Francesco Giorgi. This Italian parliamentary assistant is also stuck in this case, as is Pier Antonio Panzeri, a former socialist MEP who is a central figure and agreed on Tuesday to collaborate with the justice system in exchange for a limited prison sentence.

“Mr. Panzeri is buying a future, it’s very good,” Mr. Risopoulos said ironically in front of the press. The lawyer considered that the former Italian elected official who became leader of NGOs in Brussels was mainly looking to protect his family, with this status of “repenti” allowed by Belgian law. Mr. Panzeri’s wife and daughter, who live in Italy, are the target of a European arrest warrant in the investigation of Judge Michel Claise. But they dispute their handover to Belgium in Italian courts.

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