Qatargate: Judge has 'no evidence' against MEP Eva Kaili, her lawyer says

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By Maria Psara
Lawyers for Greek MEP Eva Kaili, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, center right, and Andre Risopoulos, center left, speak with the media at the courthouse in Brussels on Dec 22, 2022.
Lawyers for Greek MEP Eva Kaili, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, center right, and Andre Risopoulos, center left, speak with the media at the courthouse in Brussels on Dec 22, 2022.   -   Copyright  Olivier Matthys/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved

The Belgian judge investigating the so-called Qatargate corruption scandal has "no evidence to substantiate the charge of bribery" against Greek MEP Eva Kaili, her lawyer told Euronews on Tuesday, denouncing her detention in jail as "legally wrong".

Michalis Dimitrakopoulos said during an interview with Euronews that “Judge [Michel] Claise said he has no evidence to substantiate the charge of bribery, but evidence may be found in the future."

"This is not compatible with the rule of law, the European rule of law to keep someone in prison with the prospect of finding evidence in the future. It is legally wrong. I want to believe that there is no political influence in this decision," he added. 

He also once more proclaimed Kaili's innocence, arguing she called the police as soon as she was made aware of her partner's arrest.

“Τhis is a serious piece of evidence that her first move was to talk to the police," Kaili's lawyer said.

"This means she was unaware that there was something illegal in her house, otherwise she wouldn’t have called the police. But it wasn’t possible because the police did not speak English and then all the developments happened.”

According to Dimitrakopoulos, Kaili did not know about the money and only learnt about it once she saw the news. She then decided to call close colleagues of her partner - some of whom are now also accused of corruption - to get rid of the money that was eventually found in her apartment and in a suitcase carried by her father.

Kaili's lawyer also denies that she accepted bribes from Qatar and insists her political decisions were in line with European decisions.

“The European Union needed gas, so Mrs. Kaili did not offer any service to Qatar in return for bribes. The first and only vote that Mrs. Kaili participated in concerned the right of Qatari citizens to come to the EU visa-free, which passed with a majority of 70% versus 30%, so Mrs. Kaili's vote was of no value anyway," Dimitrakopoulos said.

Next week, the Greek MEP will be back in court where it will be decided whether she will remain in Belgium’s notorious Haren prison. 

The lawyer also said that Kaili’s only moment of joy since she was arrested was when she finally was allowed to see her two-year-old daughter while in prison.