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Saturday, Apr 20, 2024

Qatargate: MEPs Eva Kaili, Marc Tarabella to stay in jail longer

Qatargate: MEPs Eva Kaili, Marc Tarabella to stay in jail longer

Kaili will now spend at least two more months in jail. Tarabella’s detention will be prolonged by at least one month.
European Parliament members Eva Kaili and Marc Tarabella will remain in jail after losing their appeals to be released while authorities continue a sprawling corruption probe.

Both lawmakers were trying to overturn an earlier confirmation of their detention by the case’s investigative judge, but the Brussels Court of Appeal ruled against their request on Friday, according to a press release. Kaili will now spend at least two more months in jail, while Tarabella’s detention will be prolonged by at least one month.

Their detention is part of an investigation, dubbed Qatargate, into whether foreign countries illegally lobbied the Parliament through cash-for-influence schemes. The charges against Kaili and Tarabella include corruption, money laundering and being part of a criminal organization.

Kaili’s lawyer’s team had argued that releasing her with an electronic tag, as the court granted to her partner Francesco Giorgi last week, would allow her to spend time with her 2-year-old daughter. Kaili, a former Parliament vice president, was one of several suspects arrested in December when the scandal first erupted.

Tarabella’s lawyer, Maxim Töller, said he will continue to push for Tarabella’s release. But he noted the lawmaker will already be transferred to a facility closer to his family. Kaili’s Brussels-based lawyer declined to comment.

Another suspect in the case, former Italian MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, also remains detained. Panzeri struck a deal with the police, agreeing to share information on bribing lawmakers in exchange for a reduced sentence.

Italian MEP Andrea Cozzolino, also implicated in the probe, is under house arrest in Italy, awaiting his extradition hearing to Belgium, which was delayed earlier this week. NGO boss Niccolo Figa-Talamanca, who was initially detained in December, has been released without conditions, according to his lawyer.

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