Beautiful Virgin Islands

Saturday, Jan 28, 2023

Qatar ‘corruption’ scandal rocks EU Parliament

Qatar ‘corruption’ scandal rocks EU Parliament

Top MEP Eva Kaili suspended as lobbying inquiry threatens to snowball.
A top MEP has been suspended from her party after police launched an investigation into alleged illicit lobbying activities by Qatar, in what threatens to blow up into a major crisis at the heart of the European Union.

Belgian police searched 16 homes and detained at least four people in and around Brussels on Friday as part of an inquiry into what prosecutors called “criminal organization, corruption and money laundering.”

European Parliament vice-president Eva Kaili, from the Greek socialist party Pasok, was said to be among those detained. She was suspended from the Socialists and Democrats group in the parliament “with immediate effect, in response to the ongoing investigations,” the EU-level group tweeted late Friday. Kaili was also expelled from the center-left Pasok party in Greece.

The raids triggered a scandal for the Parliament and the Socialists and Democrats group in particular, which has been criticized over its soft stance on Qatar in the run-up to the football World Cup.

The searches were carried out as part of a wider investigation, primarily targeting parliamentary assistants, the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement. Belgian outlets Le Soir and Knack reported those detained alongside Kaili included Luca Visentini, secretary general of the International Trade Union Confederation.

Kaili, one of the parliament’s 14 vice-presidents, recently called Qatar a “frontrunner in labor rights” after meeting with the country’s labor minister, despite deep international concerns about conditions for stadium construction workers. She did not immediately reply to requests for comment Friday evening.

The Gulf state has been the subject of recent controversy as the host of the ongoing 2022 World Cup, during which it has been criticized for its regressive policies toward LGBTQ+ rights and migrant workers.

“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 added.

Qatar is accused of targeting officials “with a significant political and/or strategic position” at the Parliament, sending them “substantial amounts of money” and “important gifts,” according to the prosecutor’s statement.

Qatar is a massive liquefied natural gas producer and Western politicians have been trying to keep the country sweet as they try to find alternative sources of energy amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Belgian investigators are looking into whether Qatar sought to influence positions in the Parliament in ways that “go beyond classic lobbying,” according to Knack. The police seized “roughly €600,000 in cash,” cellphones and computer equipment in the raids.

In a statement, the S&D Group said it was “appalled by the allegations of corruption in the European institutions” and would “fully cooperate with all investigating authorities.”

The statement added, “Given the seriousness of the allegations, until the competent authorities provide relevant information and clarification, we are requesting the suspension of work on any files and plenary votes regarding the Gulf States, particularly visa liberalisation and planned visits.”

Also sealed is the office of an assistant to Belgian S&D MEP Marie Arena. Arena, who chairs the Parliament’s subcommittee on human rights, said that she herself has not been questioned by the police.

Reached by phone late Friday, Arena said the aide facing scrutiny used to work for an NGO called Fight Impunity. “I understand nothing about the situation,” said Arena. “If Qatar is doing so, I know that others are doing exactly the same,” Arena said. “And so we have to really prevent this kind of capacity to influence.”

The Qatari government did not have an immediate response to a request for comment when contacted by POLITICO.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Beautiful Virgin Islands
Close
0:00
0:00
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
BVI Freedom Song
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Billy Preston - You Can't Beat God Giving (Live)
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
VIRGIN ISLANDS REGGAE CARIBBEAN RIDDIMZ
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
Oh Happy Day Edwin Hawkins - Anthony Brown w FBCG Combined Choir
China's first population drop in six decades
'Stand by Me' performed by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
National Anthem of the British Virgin Islands - Oh, Beautiful Virgin
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Hello Dolly
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
for KING & COUNTRY - Amen (Reborn) [feat. Lecrae & The WRLDFMS Tony Wi
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
Bob Marley - Get Up Stand Up
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Yes He Can
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Unforgettable
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Touch The Hem Of His Garment
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
The Lord's Prayer
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
THE GOD MOVEMENT...BEAUTIFUL BVI
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Siyahamba
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Ray Charles And The Voices Of Jubilaton, Oh, Happy Day
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
Ramblin' Rose
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
Protoje - Who Knows ft. Chronixx
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Pressure - Virgin Islands Nice
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Phil Wickham - House Of The Lord
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
My God Is Real (Yes, God Is Real)
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
The Lion King Circle of Life by LEBO M. — LIVE at the HAVASI Symphonic
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Louis Armstrong - When The Saints Go Marching In
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Kanye West Sunday Service - hallelujah, salvation, and glory
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Jonathan Nelson - I Believe (Island Medley
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
From The Virgin Islands Sqad Up
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Common, John Legend - Glory
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Anthony Evans vs. Jesse Campbell - If I Ain't Got You
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
BVI Freedom Song
×