Eva Kaili free to return to parliamentary duties from Friday, lawyers say

MEP Eva Kaili.

After Belgian federal authorities released her from house arrest and imposed a requirement to wear an ankle monitor, MEP Eva Kaili is now free to return to her duties in the European Parliament and to exercise her rights as an MEP, her lawyers announced in a statement on Friday.

They said that Kaili, still under investigation for the so-called 'Qatargate' scandal, was not perturbed by a decision forbidding her to leave Belgium, as she intends to return to Greece only after the courts vindicate her.

They also added that the evidence pointing to her innocence is mounting.

"Next week, she will be at the European Parliament to carry out her duties," Kaili's Greek lawyer Michalis Dimitrakopoulos told Greece's Skai TV.

She will also ask the chamber to determine whether her surveillance, arrest and incarceration had violated her rights as an MEP, Dimitrakopoulos said.

Prosecutors on Thursday allowed the 44-year-old former newsreader to remove an electronic ankle tag and freed her from house arrest pending trial.

Formerly a rising star in the European Parliament, Kaili has been stripped of her former role as vice-president and excluded from her political group.

She was arrested in Brussels in December by police investigating alleged graft in the European Parliament, before being released to house arrest in April.

She denies all charges.

Several more European politicians and parliamentary aides were arrested and charged as part of Belgian investigation, but now all but one have been freed from house arrest.

Investigators allege that Belgian former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, who is cooperating with the inquiry, ran a ring distributing bribes to promote the interests of Qatar and Morocco.

Both governments angrily deny playing any role.

The scandal erupted when police raided several properties in Brussels and seized at least 1.5 million euros in cash stored in suitcases and bags.

Dimitrakopoulos on Friday said Panzeri was the "mastermind" and that Kaili's fingerprints were not found on the money seized by police.

"She believes she will be acquitted... if the case even gets to trial," he said.

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