Assets of Greek MEP accused of graft frozen

After Kaili’s Brussels arrest on graft charges, Greece's money laundering authority gets to work

Assets of Greek MEP accused of graft frozen

Greece’s Anti-Money Laundering Authority has issued a general order to freeze, until further notice, all assets that MEP Eva Kaili, 44, and her husband or her immediate family members (parents, siblings) may have in Greece.

Kaili, a vice president of the European Parliament, and her husband were among four people arrested on Sunday on charges of corruption, money laundering and participation in a criminal organization.

Police carried out raids at 16 houses in and around Brussels and seized €600,000 on Friday as a part of the investigation into a corruption scandal involving Qatar and prominent European politicians, dubbed Qatargate.

The order by the head of the Anti-Money Laundering Authority, former Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Haralambos Vourliotis, has already been forwarded to all Greek credit institutions to identify accounts, control movements, existence of safe deposit boxes, possession of other financial products, while at the same time an order was given to all land registry offices to freeze all real estate of the above persons. 

The move of the Anti-Money Laundering Authority, in addition to the broader control, which will be carried out anyway, aims, as sources told Kathimerini, to identify any cash that may be in the possession of the persons under investigation, and to ascertain whether they are products of legitimate origin or bribes.

As this investigation began on Monday morning, a real estate company set up about a month ago by the MEP and her husband in Kolonaki was identified and audited, and its entire activity has been frozen. The authority has also ordered and conducted a check on the assets of Kaili’s father.

In the event that incriminating evidence is also found in Greece, Kaili could, in theory at least, request to be tried in Greece, but sources said this is unlikely. Under Belgian law, the charges against the MEP and her husband are punishable by three to five years in prison, while under Greek law the sentences range from15 years and can exceed 20 years, even reaching life sentences in very exceptional cases.

However, legal sources have stressed that it is still too early to make assessment as the investigations are still in full swing and no one can predict what will emerge and what will be revealed. 

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