In the corruption scandal surrounding the ex-vice president of the European Parliament, Eva Kaili, Greek authorities have confiscated property belonging to the MPs and her partner. Authorities "seized around 7,000 square meters of land" on the Greek island of Paros that "Kaili and her partner Francesco Giorgi had bought," a Greek legal source said on Thursday.
Accordingly, the Greek financial prosecutor also froze a joint bank account of the couple in Greece, which had been used to purchase the property. The confiscation of the property came as part of a preliminary investigation into Kaili that the financial prosecutor's office in Athens launched last week, according to legal sources. In cooperation with the Belgian judiciary, it is about the suspicion of “taking bribes and money laundering”.
In addition, the Greek anti-money laundering authority announced last week that it would freeze all of the 44-year-old social democrat's assets.
Meanwhile, Kaili appeared Thursday in a Brussels court that will decide whether she should remain in pre-trial detention. After Kaili's hearing, her lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, affirmed his client's innocence. Kaili "is innocent and has never been bribed," Dimitrakopoulos said.
According to Kaili's other lawyer, André Risopoulos, the decision on a possible extension of the pre-trial detention is not expected until the evening. Risopoulos added that her two defenders had applied for Kaili's release with an electronic tag. "She is actively cooperating with investigators," he said.
Kaili's Greek lawyer Dimitrakopoulos said last week that Kaili "didn't know" about the existence of the large sums of cash found during a search of her home and was "innocent". Only her partner could give "answers about the existence of this money".
Investigators found 150,000 euros in the apartment of the Vice-President of the European Parliament, who has since been deposed on suspicion of corruption, and her partner Francesco Giorgi, who works as an assistant in Parliament. Another 750,000 were found with Kaili's father in a Brussels hotel. In total, the investigators searched 20 private rooms and MPs' offices between December 9th and 12th. They found another 600,000 euros in the possession of former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri.
Kaili, Giorgi and Panzeri are three of four suspects now in custody on charges of "membership in a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption". They are said to have been paid by the Gulf state of Qatar to defend its interests. The Gulf state has rejected this.
The Belgian judiciary had already ordered the other three suspects to remain in custody last week.