ATHENS — EU lawmaker Eva Kaili is set to take her first journey outside of Brussels since her arrest in the Qatargate cash-for-influence scandal. It’s a work trip.
Her legal team has managed to get restrictions lifted to allow the once-feted MEP to travel beyond Belgium, but only to Strasbourg to attend this week’s plenary session of the European Parliament.
“Brussels Judicial Council decided — with the agreement of the investigating magistrate Michel Claise and the federal magistrate Raphaël Malagnini, Kaili is allowed to travel to Strasbourg only to carry out her duties,” her lawyers Sven Mary and Michalis Dimitrakopoulos said on Sunday.
“She is not allowed to go elsewhere in France for any other purpose without the permission of the investigating magistrate,” they added.
The Greek MEP was one of the first to be arrested last December in raids by the Belgian police as they launched a sprawling investigation into whether foreign countries, including Qatar and Morocco, had been involved in bribing EU lawmakers. The scandal came to be known as Qatargate.
After her detention pending trial was prolonged several times, she was moved from jail to house arrest with an electronic monitor in mid-April. In late May, the Belgian prosecutor’s office said the EU lawmaker was no longer under house arrest.
The Greek MEP has not been witnessed back in the European Parliament in Brussels, even though her lawyer Dimitrakopoulos said that she visited her office there last week.
Kaili was stripped of her position as one of the vice presidents of the Parliament over her role in the bribery case, but she remains a sitting MEP. She reiterated her claims of innocence in a number of media interviews published in early June, arguing that authorities might have targeted her because she knew too much about government spying.