European Parliament lifts the immunity of Alexis Georgoulis, Greek MEP accused of rape and assault

The European Parliament decided to lift the immunity of Alexis Georgoulis, a Greek MEP who has been accused of rape and assault.
The European Parliament decided to lift the immunity of Alexis Georgoulis, a Greek MEP who has been accused of rape and assault. Copyright European Union, 2022.
By Euronews
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The European Parliament also waived the immunity of Maria Spyraki, who is suspected of having committed fraud.

The European Parliament voted on Thursday to lift the immunity of Alexis Georgoulis, a Greek MEP formerly associated with the Left group who has been accused of rape.


Maria Spyraki, a Greek legislator who sits with the centre-right European People's Party, also saw her immunity waived over suspicion of fraud.

MEPs enjoy parliamentary immunity against any form of inquiry, detention or legal proceedings. But this right can be waived upon request by a competent authority, which has to be endorsed by a simple majority vote in the hemicycle.

Both requests were overwhelmingly approved on Thursday morning.

Georgoulis is accused of rape and assault and battery in relation to a complaint submitted by a woman following an incident that took place in Brussels in 2020.

Belgian authorities requested the waiver of his immunity on 17 April this year in order to move forward with the legal case.

The announcement of the accusations sent shockwaves in Greece, where the lawmaker is well-known because of his past work as an actor.

Georgoulis has repeatedly defended his innocence, calling the complaint filed by the woman "false" and "slanderous."

"I intend to fight my battle in justice, for the truth and the restoration of my name," he said in April, announcing his removal from the SYRIZA party.

The MEP renounced his right to be heard before a parliamentary committee, which considerably accelerated the process of waiving his immunity.

Meanwhile, Spyraki is suspected of having committed fraud in relation to the management of her parliamentary allowance and the remuneration of her accredited assistants.

The lifting of her immunity was requested in mid-December by the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), which is tasked with investigating damages and misuse of the EU budget.


According to the report voted on Thursday, two of Spyraki's assistants had their expenses reimbursed for missions that were never carried out. Another case relates to the income of an assistant who was paid despite being absent from parliament between November 2016 and February 2020.

Spyraki denies any wrongdoing.

"I have never been accused of taking the salaries of my assistants or illegally using funds from the EU budget. I don't have any financial dispute with the European Parliament. I completely trust the justice system," Spyraki said in a short statement.

According to the report, Spyraki has given back "all amounts unduly paid," although this does not spare the lawmaker from "potential criminal liability."

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