BRUSSELS ( Associated Press) – A Greek parliament member accused of corruption in an alleged conspiracy by a Persian Gulf country will remain in jail for at least next week after a judge postponed his hearing, court officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday. told.
Eva Kelly, sacked as the vice-president of the European Parliament, was due to appear before a judge in Brussels on Wednesday along with three other people arrested in connection with the case.
His lawyer, Andre Risopoulos, said the hearing was adjourned until December 22, without elaborating. The federal prosecutor’s office in Brussels confirmed the new date on which judges will decide whether to remain in custody.
Police have carried out 20 raids in Belgium and Italy while investigating an alleged bribery case in exchange for political favors. Prosecutors said in a statement that they suspected “people in political and/or strategic positions in the European Parliament received large sums of money or were offered large gifts to influence Parliament’s decisions.”
Prosecutors have charged Cali and three others with corruption, joining a criminal group and money laundering.
Belgian authorities have not identified the Persian Gulf country suspected of paying money or gifts to parliament officials, but several members of that body and some Belgian media have linked the investigation to World Cup host country Qatar.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Crew said EU relations with any country implicated in bribery would be affected if confirmed.
“First of all, the mistake is made by those who allowed themselves to be bribed. Let’s say it clearly. But it’s not just them. There are always two sides to this,” he said.
Qatar has received some glowing reviews in Europe this year, and claims that European officials received bribes in return will be difficult to prove. But according to Belgian prosecutors, investigators have seized hundreds of thousands of euros from the officers’ homes.
De Crew said the scandal shows that “greater vigilance and greater transparency in the European Parliament” are needed.
“Together with the President of the (European Parliament) Roberta Metsola, we want to improve the operation and bring more transparency and really get to the bottom of ongoing investigations,” he said.