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ATHENS — Greek MEP Eva Kaili has admitted that she asked her father to take money from her home, her lawyer in Athens said on Tuesday, adding that despite this he is convinced of her innocence.
Kaili is at the center of a spiraling investigation into alleged corruption by Qatar, which has rocked the European Parliament and triggered deep soul-searching in the corridors of power in Brussels. She was arrested by Belgian police in a series of raids that found, among other things, €150,000 at her own apartment.
Kaili’s father was arrested on December 9 in the Brussels Sofitel hotel with a suitcase full of cash. According to the arrest warrant for the Greek MEP issued on the same day and cited in Belgian media, she admitted that she had instructed her father to hide the money.
Her father has been released, while she, her partner Francesco Giorgi and his former boss Pier Antonio Panzeri remain in Belgian prison as investigations continue.
“When her husband was arrested, it was in a nearby area in the garage, but they were together. It was not announced what the reason [for the arrest] was,” Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, Kaili’s lawyer in Greece, told local radio.
“At that moment, she learned about the contents of the suitcase from her partner. One option was to turn him in to the police, the second was to take the money to its owner. She has no obligation to report her husband under European law.”
Dimitrakopoulos said that Kaili tried to call Panzeri and others to take the money that belonged to them, “the dirty money.”
“She called her father to come. ‘Come on now, take these things, go to your room in the hotel, and a man will come and get them,’” the lawyer said.
However, Dimitrakopoulos underlined that the Greek MEP Kaili is innocent “without footnotes and asterisks.”
In a statement to the press later in the day, the lawyer added that Kaili “never claimed that she knew or participated in the acts of which her partner is accused, never had ownership or possession of the money found in the shared apartment. She has never in her life taken a bribe.”
Kaili’s lawyers in Belgium didn’t want to comment on the case. Her court appearance is scheduled for Thursday morning and it will be decided whether she will remain in prison pending trial.
Camille Gijs contributed reporting.