As we have previously reported, Greek Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Eva Kaili was detained along with four others three days ago. It was reported that it is about an unidentified Gulf state allegedly targeted officials "with a significant political and/or strategic position" to influence the EU Parliament. However, we now know that the Gulf state was Qatar.
The president of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola has warned that "European democracy is under attack", following allegations that Qatar bribed EU officials to win influence. Roberta Metsola said that "open, free, democratic societies are under attack".
Belgian police have arrested four people, among them European Parliament Vice-President Eva Kaili. Police launched over the past days a fresh wave of raids on political figures in Brussels over alleged corruption involving Qatari interests on Monday.
The four have been charged with corruption and money-laundering. Qatar has denied all.
European Commission's President Ursula von der Leyen said the accusations were "very serious" and called for the creation of a new ethics body to oversee the bloc.
Belgian news RTBF reported that Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella (PS) has been suspended from the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group in the European Parliament pending the judicial investigation into suspicions of corruption involving Qatar, in which his name is mentioned, confirmed on Tuesday the president of this group, the Spaniard Iratxe Garcia Perez. The former Belgian Walloon minister and mayor of Anthisnes, who claims to have nothing to hide and to collaborate with justice, should also be heard this Tuesday by the vigilance commission of the Socialist Party.
MEPs have voted - by 625 to one - to strip MsEva Kaili of her role as one of its 14 vice-presidents. However she is still an MEP from Greece. During the operations over 1 Million Euro has been found by the Belgian police in suitcases in Brussels.
The allegations have now raising questions about the role of lobbying groups at the European Parliament together with MEPs and their assistants and circles. A recommendation to allow visa-free travel to the EU for Qatar citizens was set to be voted on by MEPs this week but has now been postponed.