Dhe Greek Social Democrat Eva Kaili, one of the 14 Vice Presidents of the European Parliament, was arrested by the Belgian police on Friday evening, although she is actually protected by her immunity. This was made possible because the investigators had shadowed Kaili’s parents, as the newspaper “Le Soir” reported on Monday. The parents spent a few days in a hotel in the middle of the Europaviertel. On Friday afternoon, Kaili’s father suddenly left the hotel, alone and with a trolley in hand luggage format. It was filled with 50 euro bills, a total of around 600,000 euros. Presumably the father had been warned. A few hours earlier, investigators had arrested his daughter’s partner, Francesco G.
For the investigators, there was such a concrete suspicion because of the suitcase of money that they drove to Kailis’ apartment, which is only a few steps away from the Brussels seat of parliament, with a search warrant. In such a case, there is no longer any immunity. There they struck gold again. Several handbags and luxury travel bags were stuffed with 20 and 50 euro bills, totaling at least 150,000 euros. “These are things that are commonly encountered when searching drug dealers,” the newspaper quoted a source as saying.
Arrest warrants were issued for Kaili and her Italian partner on Sunday. They are in custody, along with two other Italians: former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, who also had a suitcase containing around 600,000 euros in cash, and a lobbyist. According to consistent reports, he is said to be Niccolò F., the Secretary General of “No Peace without Justice”.
Well-connected non-governmental organizations
The organization was founded in 1993 by Emma Bonino, a prominent representative of the Italian left, she was EU Commissioner and, among other things, her country’s foreign minister. The declared goal of “No Peace Without Justice” is the commitment to human rights, democracy and the rule of law worldwide. According to the NGO’s website, F. has “extensive practical experience” in this area. The stages of his CV seem like the ideal preparation for the post as Secretary General: Studies and doctorate in law with an international focus at British and Italian universities, a stay as a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York, consultant for an American NGO, a position with a judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
How exactly he is supposed to be involved in the corruption scandal is still unclear. As recently as May, his organization itself had pointed out inappropriate attempts to exert influence by a Gulf state: the United Arab Emirates. In a statement, “No Peace without Justice” referred to a comprehensive report by a partner organization on the subject – and to a corresponding debate in the European Parliament’s Human Rights Subcommittee.
F. is considered a confidant of Bonino, who is referred to as the “founder and patron” on the organization’s website. Bonino did not want to describe himself as “shocked” by the allegations, but as “very surprised”. Briefly, she answered a call from the FAZ on Monday: “I don’t know anything, the judiciary has to do its job now, let’s wait and see.”