BRUSSELS — Eva Kaili, the former European Parliament vice president accused of accepting bribes in one of the biggest scandals to hit European Union institutions, was released from custody to house arrest on Friday.
The 44-year-old Greek Socialist was driven in a black Mercedes with her lawyer from Haren prison in northern Brussels to her apartment near the European Parliament, where she wound down the window to speak briefly to reporters.
“My daughter is waiting for me so I’m very happy that I will be with her in a bit. So thank you. We will talk soon,” she said before the car disappeared into a garage.
Kaili and others are accused of accepting bribes from Qatar and Morocco in exchange for influence in EU policymaking.
The MEP (member of the European parliament) and the Gulf state have denied any wrongdoing. Morocco has complained of “judicial harassment” and media attacks.
Kaili was detained along with three others during police raids in December that recovered 1.5 million euros ($1.7 million) in cash. She will wear an electronic tag and will not be allowed to leave Belgium.
The three others have also been released, one of whom has admitted guilt and is working with authorities in exchange for a reduced sentence.
Another MEP, Belgian Marc Tarabella, was detained in February and let out with an electronic monitor earlier this week. He denies wrongdoing.
Another lawmaker, Italian Andrea Cozzolino, is fighting Belgium’s request that he be extradited from Italy. He denies taking bribes from foreign countries. The Italian court handling the extradition request is due to hold a hearing on May 2.
($1 = 0.9042 euros) (Reporting by Christian Levaux Writing by Philip Blenkinsop Editing by Mark Potter)