Qatar probe: EU Parliament suspends Vice President Eva Kaili

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The European Union has suspended a Greek Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Eva Kaili, as a vice president over a corruption probe implicating World Cup hosts Qatar.

According to a spokesperson for the EU, European Parliament president Roberta Metsola “has decided to suspend with immediate effect all powers, duties and tasks that were delegated to Eva Kaili in her capacity as Vice-President of the European Parliament”.

Earlier Saturday, Metsola said on Twitter that the parliament “stands firmly against corruption”, adding they would do everything they could to “assist the course of justice”.

Socialist MEP Eva Kaili was arrested on Friday hours after four others were detained for questioning.

At least three of the others arrested were either Italian citizens or originally came from Italy, a source close to the case said.

Kaili, 44, is the partner of one of the four others detained: Francesco Giorgi, a parliamentary assistant with the European Parliament’s Socialists and Democrats group, said the source.

Former Italian MEP Pier-Antonio Panzeri, who served as a socialist in the parliament between 2004 and 2019, was also reportedly arrested.

Belgium’s federal prosecutor’s office said the investigation concerned suspected “corruption” and “money laundering”.

The EU’s announcement came amid mounting outrage over the allegations and calls for action to tackle corruption inside the European Parliament.

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“Over many decades, the Parliament has allowed a culture of impunity to develop, with a combination of lax financial rules and controls and a complete lack of independent (or indeed any) ethics oversight,” Transparency International’s director Michiel van Hulten said.

The European Parliament had “become a law unto itself”, said Van Hulten. “It is time for root and branch reform.”

The European Parliament’s Greens group called for a full investigation into allegations of bribery by Qatar.

“We will not accept business as usual…,” the group said.

“We must strengthen our rules so this cannot happen again.”

 

France24/Zainab Sa’id

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