Qatargate: Eva Kaili’s Testimony & Husband’s Arrest

Editorial Team

According to the Brussels Federal Prosecutor’s Office, Eva Kaili will appear before the pre-trial council on January 19, which will decide whether or not to continue her pre-trial detention.

Eva Kaili’s first statement to the Belgian Court, about Qatargate, came to light a day after her arrest on December 10.

According to the Sky television station, in the barrage of questions she received from the investigator, the MEP was in a state of confusion and tried to justify her movements after the arrest of her husband, the existence of the huge sums of money in her home, but also in the suitcase with which her father was arrested. She admitted to two meetings in Brussels with Qatar’s labor minister along with her partner.

In front of the authorities, she describes her first movements as soon as Francesco Giorgi was caught.

The First Moves

“After my husband was arrested, I went to his office. I went through his things to find out why he was arrested. I found his computer and his phone. So I called my father who was with the baby. I asked him to come and get the suitcase,” she says.

Investigator: Did You Know What’s in it?

Eva Kaili: I opened the suitcase. I also opened the safe. I know he had a thing for his old boss, Pantzeri, and maybe his current boss, Andrea Coccolino. First I tried to call Pancheri but I couldn’t find him. Then I tried to contact Tarabella and then Marie Arena. They replied that they do not know why Pancheri does not answer. Pancheri doesn’t speak English, I prefer to communicate with him through his friends because my italian is not good.

The investigators are trying from the first moment to find out what Eva Kaili knew about the money.

Investigator: How do you explain that such sums of money were found in your house?
Eva Kaili: I can’t explain, but my husband did. Antonio Panzeri works a lot with African countries on human rights issues. He calls Francesco whenever he wants to do something about it or anything he wants to convey. She trusts him 100%. He trusted his apartment more. I don’t know if it had anything to do with my immunity.

At the time Eva Kaili was testifying, the police had already arrested her father.

Investigator: Why Did You Give The Suitcase to Your Father?

Eva Kaili: At 10:30 they arrested Francesco. I thought he was in a car accident. I didn’t know anything. I had just been told that my husband had been arrested and his car impounded. The father had taken my daughter for a walk. I called him to come back right away. I packed the things and put them in a suitcase. I also put a bottle for the baby. I only got Antonio Panzeri’s stuff. I didn’t know who the PC and mobile phone belonged to, but they were close to the suitcase so I put them in, thinking they belonged to Pancheri. My father is in no way related and she is having health problems. He acted in the capacity of grandfather. He knows nothing. I guess he opened the suitcase at the hotel.

I was present at the meetings with the Qataris.

The investigators cite evidence from Pantseri’s network’s meetings with Qataris, and Eva Kaili is asked to answer.

Investigator: In this file there is a lot of investigative evidence about different people. From this evidence, we can see that you went twice to a hotel on avenue Louise STEINGENBERGER with your partner. We saw that you came into contact, in these meetings, with a delegation from Qatar. Tell who you met and what was the purpose of these meetings?

Eva Kaili: I met Qatar’s labor minister who usually speaks Arabic and the translation is done in French. Francesco translated from French to English for me. It concerned the minister’s visit to the European Parliament. He wanted to understand the process of voting on visas in the European Parliament. Pancheri was not with me on these visits. I think he met them but without me and they had other conversations.

The close relationship between Giorgi and Panzeri:

Immediately after, Eva Kaili outlines to the investigators the Panzeri-Giortzi relationship.

Eva Kaili: I don’t know the secrets of Panzeri and Francesco’s relationship, do they speak Italian or French. They see each other and hang out but apart from saying “how are you?”, they never talked about anything in particular. Before that, I never thought about where this money came from. I didn’t check his computer or his stuff until yesterday. Yesterday (9/12) I looked because I knew Antonio had given him a briefcase and now he was older. Antonio would come for coffee even when I wasn’t at home. Antonio and Francesco have a very close relationship. I trusted Francesco because he was always very careful and very punctual. I have been offered 2 or 3 times much better paying jobs, but the main criterion for me is not the salary.

Last Wednesday evening, Eva Kaili gave a new statement to the Belgian investigator. At the same time, Francesco Giorgi’s request for release from prison was postponed, according to the Brussels Federal Prosecutor’s Office. Francesco Giorgi, Eva Caili’s partner and Antonio Panzeri’s right-hand man, appeared on Thursday before the pre-trial council (Chambre du Conseil), in order, as the procedure provides, to decide whether to continue his pre-trial detention for an additional month, or his release from prison with an electronic wristband. The decision of the pre-trial council was postponed until January 26.

Eva Caili and her partner, Francesco Giorgi, have been in temporary detention in Belgian prisons for over a month, as part of the Belgian authorities’ investigations into the Qatargate case. According to the Brussels Federal Prosecutor’s Office, Eva Kaili will appear before the pre-trial council on January 19, which will decide whether or not to continue her pre-trial detention.

This article is originally published on

About Us

Brussels Morning is a daily online newspaper based in Belgium. BM publishes unique and independent coverage on international and European affairs. With a Europe-wide perspective, BM covers policies and politics of the EU, significant Member State developments, and looks at the international agenda with a European perspective.
Share This Article