EU corruption scandal: European court rejects Socialist MEP Eva Kaili’s immunity request

In this photo provided by the European Parliament, Greek politician and European Parliament Vice-President Eva Kaili speaks during the European Book Prize award ceremony in Brussels, Dec. 7, 2022. The European Union's top official said Monday, Dec. 12, 2022 that the allegations of corruption targeting a vice-president of the European Parliament are of “utmost concern" and called for the creation of an independent ethics body covering all the bloc's institutions. (European Parliament via AP)
By John Cody
3 Min Read

In an order issued on Tuesday, the European Court of Justice dismissed the immunity request brought by MEP Eva Kaili, a former vice-president of the European Parliament accused of corruption.

The case comes after Laura Kövesi, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office’s chief prosecutor, submitted a request on Dec. 15, 2022, to President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola to waive the parliamentary immunity of Kaili following an investigation into the handling of MEPs’ allowances as part of an investigation into a corruption scandal in the European Parliament.

The request for a waiver of immunity was announced by President Metsola at the January 2023 plenary session of the EU parliament and referred to the competent committee on legal affairs. The committee discussed the request and adopted a recommendation to approve or reject the request at the plenary level, which was adopted by a simple majority in the European Parliament plenary on Feb. 2.

Kaili asked the General Court of the European Union (EGC) to annul both the request of the EU public prosecutor and the decision of the president of the European Parliament.

The investigation is part of a probe launched by the Belgian police in December 2022 into the case of Kaili, the Socialist vice-president of the European Parliament who has since been ousted, following intelligence reports implicating her in a corruption scandal.

When police raided her apartment, they seized hundreds of thousands of euros stuffed into suitcases and bags, which police say was bribe money.

In an order issued on Tuesday, the EGC dismissed the action brought by Kaili in its entirety, as the claims in question were not justifiable. The court stressed that a request for waiver of immunity is a preliminary and necessary measure necessary to ensure the effectiveness of an investigation where the immunity enjoyed by the person concerned is an obstacle to the investigation of the case.

Kaili and three others were arrested on Dec. 9, 2022, by Belgian authorities as part of a corruption investigation. According to police, almost €1.5 million was seized during multiple searches in the Brussels region. Those arrested are charged with belonging to a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption.

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