February 4, 2023

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Scandal: Belgian justice rules Thursday on Eva Kylie detention

A Belgian judge decided on Thursday whether Eva Kylie, who was indicted this month in a Qatar-related corruption probe and stripped of her post as vice-president of the European Parliament, should continue in detention.

The hearing convenes at 9:00 a.m. (08:00 GMT) before the Brussels council chamber, which sits behind closed doors, and a decision is expected later in the day.

The Greek MEP is part of a quartet of suspects jailed after being accused of “belonging to a criminal organisation”, “money laundering” and “corruption” in the scandal, which has sent shock waves through the European Parliament and tensions between Qatar and the EU. “.

On December 14, the Council Chamber, which has jurisdiction to review pre-trial detention, ordered the continued imprisonment of Francesco Giorgi, a companion of Eva Kylie, and former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, who appears to be a folder of key figures.

The employment of the fourth defendant, Niccolò Figa-Talamanca, under the electronic bracelet was suspended pending an appeal filed by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.

A former TV news anchor who has become a controversial figure in the Greek Socialist Party (Pazok-Kinal) – which distanced itself from the first revelations – Eva Kaili denies receiving money from Qatar to influence her political decisions.

According to a Belgian judicial source, bags filled with 150,000 euros worth of banknotes were found in his apartment in Brussels.

But Mrs. Kylie “didn’t know this money existed,” her Greek lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, assured Mr. Giorgi accuses his companion of “betrayal of trust”.

Ahead of the hearing in council chambers, Mee Dimitrakopoulos expressed hope.

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“The situation is difficult, but we have very convincing arguments to release her”, said the lawyer in front of the journalists, especially “the flight is without any danger”.

– Twenty Quests –

The investigation, led by Belgian judge Michel Kliese, led to twenty searches in Belgium from December 9 to 12, including at the European Parliament complex in Brussels.

Eva Kylie’s father was held in custody for 48 hours in the Belgian capital, while Mr. Panzeri’s wife and daughter were arrested in Italy. They challenged it in the Italian courts back in Belgium.

After all, according to the same judicial source, Belgian investigators received 1.5 million euros in cash.

In addition to the €150,000 found on Ms Kylie, her father was surprised with a suitcase containing €750,000 in cash.

Finally, in 2019, Mr. 600,000 euros were seized from Panzeri’s home, whose three-year operation is now being investigated.

Italian trade union leader Luca Visentini, who knew Mr Panzeri, admitted this week that he had received a donation of around 50,000 euros from Fight Impunity, but insisted it was not linked to any corruption or attempted smuggling to benefit Qatar. .

The General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC, Ituc in English) Mr. Visentini was also arrested on December 9 and held in police custody for 48 hours. On Wednesday, he was “suspended” from his post by the ITUC’s governing body.

At the diplomatic level, the scandal has shaken relations between the EU and Qatar, which has warned of a possible “negative impact” on gas supplies.

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The emirate, which “firmly denies” the allegations, protested a December 15 vote in the European Parliament aimed at suspending access to “representatives of Qatari interests” during the investigation.

In addition to the internal investigations that were immediately announced – including one within the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group – parliament voted on December 13 to remove Ms Kylie from her post as vice-president.