Socialist EU Vice President Arrested, Allegedly Took Bribes from Arab Country to ‘Influence…Political Decisions’ at the EU

A socialist who is a vice president of the European Parliament has been arrested on allegations of corruption linked to Qatar, the country currently hosting the World Cup soccer tournament.

Greek legislator Eva Kaili was among five suspects detained by Belgian investigators, according to The New York Times.

The sweep was part of a probe into what authorities termed “criminal organization, corruption and money laundering,”  according to Politico.

Kaili, one of 14 vice presidents in the European Parliament, has called Qatar “frontrunner in labor rights,” according to Politico. But the country has been criticized for its policies toward migrant workers, particularly the construction crews who built the World Cup stadiums.

“For several months, investigators from the Federal Judicial Police suspect a Gulf country of influencing the European Parliament’s (EP) economic and political decisions,” the prosecutor’s statement said, according to Politico.

Qatar is accused of cozying up to officials “with a significant political and/or strategic position” and plying them with “substantial amounts of money” and “important gifts,” the prosecutor’s statement said, according to Politico.

“This is the most shocking integrity scandal in the history of the EU. It unveils the inadequacy of the EU ethics system applicable to its elected as well as the absence of any attempt at governing foreign influence lobbying,” Alberto Alemanno, a law professor at the prestigious French business school HEC Paris, told Politico.

Belgian prosecutors said about 600,000 euros in cash were seized in raids on 16 properties, the U.K. Daily Mail reported.

Kaili was booted from her political party after the news broke.

“Following the latest developments and the investigation by Belgian authorities into corruption of European officials, MEP Eva Kaili is expelled from PASOK-Movement of change by decision of President Nikos Androulakis,” the Panhellenic Socialist Movement said in a statement according to CNN.

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The Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Kaili’s party in the European Parliament, said she was also suspended from that group, CNN reported.

The anti-corruption campaigning group Transparency International said the issues at the heart of the arrests were not “an isolated incident,” according to the U.K. Guardian.

“Over many decades, the Parliament has allowed a culture of impunity to develop, with a combination of lax financial rules and controls and a complete lack of independent (or indeed any) ethics oversight,” said Michiel van Hulten, director of the group, according to the Guardian.

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The EP had “become a law unto itself. It is time for root and branch reform.”

A representative of the government of Qatar said it did not know of the details of any investigation, according to The New York Times.  The representative said anyone alleging misconduct by the government was misinformed and said the state operated in compliance with international rules, the Times reported.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.