Jailed MEP Eva Kaili challenges lifting of her immunity

Опубликовано: Friday, 24 February 2023 15:17

The case concerns alleged salary irregularities for assistants of the former European lawmaker.

Former European Parliament Vice President Eva Kaili has filed an appeal against the European prosecutor’s request to lift her immunity over alleged irregularities in assistants’ salaries.

The Greek MEP has been imprisoned since early December on preliminary charges of participation in a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption — part of a sprawling probe into Qatar’s lobbying operation in Brussels, known as Qatargate.

This appeal, however, concerns another case that dates from a few days after her imprisonment in December, regarding the lifting of her immunity in connection with alleged inaccuracies over money paid to parliamentary assistants.

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office said the request to lift Kaili’s immunity, along with that of a second Greek MEP, Maria Spyraki, was based on a report from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) relating to “suspicion of fraud detrimental to the EU budget, in relation to the management of the parliamentary allowance.”

Spyros Pappas, the lawyer who filed the appeal in European General Court, called the prosecutor’s office’s decision “unjustified.” The request for waiving immunity relates to “facts dating back to past years, without the requirement of the auto-investigation, and despite the fact that the relevant investigation has already been completed by the competent and independent OLAF service,” he told POLITICO.

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The appeal argues that the first condition for lifting the immunity of an MEP — that is, to be caught committing an illegal act — was not met in Kaili’s case since the alleged offenses took place in the period 2014 to 2020.

Immunity could also be lifted if the potential suspect is considered likely to prevent authorities from conducting a full investigation. This condition was not met either, her lawyers said, since OLAF had already investigated the issue and Kaili was incapable of obstructing the probe.

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