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Police raid Eva Kaili’s properties in Athens

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ATHENS — Greek and Belgian authorities raided three properties connected to Eva Kaili in Athens, Greek police told POLITICO.

A Belgian prosecutor, along with Greek and Belgian financial police, executed a European order for an investigation by Belgian prosecutors as part of the ongoing Qatargate probe, in which the Greek MEP is a key suspect, involving bags of cash and foreign bribery allegations at the European Parliament.

Authorities carried out several searches in and around Athens at Kaili’s house, the house of her sister, Mantalena, and at a property where Kaili and her partner Francesco Giorgi, also a suspect, own a real estate firm, said two Greek police officials, who were granted anonymity as they are not authorized to speak to media.

Mantalena Kaili was not immediately available for comment. The Belgian authorities declined to comment.

Once the search began at Kaili’s sister’s house, her lawyer in Greece, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, was notified. He was then present at Kaili’s property.

The Belgian prosecutor seized computers and related hardware, the officials said. Kaili’s sister and her husband made their mobiles, computers and laptops available to the authorities to be examined, he said in a statement to Greek media. Officials found nothing of value in Kaili’s own properties, he added, and they only confiscated a necklace of her daughter, which was gifted to the family by her future godparents.

Seven months of investigation “has not yielded any evidence to allow for an obviously irrelevant investigation in Athens,” he said.

He claimed the source of the investigation was linked to the fact that Michel Claise, the Belgian judge leading the corruption probe, stepped down from the investigation amid allegations of a conflict of interest.

“After the revelation that the son of the investigator of the case was involved in a company with the son of a key person involved, a Belgian MEP, international press reports created clouds of suspicion about the impartiality of the investigation,” Dimitrakopoulos said.

While the searches were ongoing in Athens from Monday to Wednesday, Kaili’s lawyers announced she would once again be able travel freely within the Schengen zone.

“By decision of the Brussels Court of Appeal, Mrs. Eva Kaili can move freely across the Schengen area without the permission of the investigating authority,” a statement issued by her attorneys on Tuesday said.

The star MEP previously said through her lawyers she would not travel back to Greece unless all charges are dropped and her name is cleared.

In late May, Belgian prosecutors said Kaili was no longer under house arrest and later on she had received special permission from authorities to travel to Strasbourg for the European Parliament session. She has yet to show up.

–Elisa Braun contributed reporting

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