Qatar reiterates denial of involvement in EU corruption case

Belgian police have found at least €1.5 million in cash

The office of former vice president Eva Kaili at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.  Reuters
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Qatar denied again on Sunday any involvement in a corruption case being investigated by Belgian authorities involving people linked to the European Parliament.

Belgian authorities have charged four people over allegations World Cup host Qatar lavished them with cash and gifts to influence decision-making.

Qatar previously denied any wrongdoing via Twitter.

A statement on Sunday by a diplomat from Qatar's mission to the European Union said the country had been “exclusively criticised and attacked” in the investigation and was deeply disappointed that the Belgian government had “made no effort to engage with our government to establish the facts”.

The statement insisted that “inaccurate” information had been used and added that “limiting dialogue and co-operation” on the issue before a legal process has ended will negatively affect security co-operation and discussions on global energy security.

Eva Kaili, a Greek MEP, is one of four people charged after raids that uncovered at least 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million) in cash.

The money was suspected of being linked to a Gulf state, and the EU Parliament last week called for Qatar's access to the institution to be suspended.

The scandal has erupted as many European countries look to Qatar for liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies. It has also been a link in contacts with Afghanistan and brought thousands of European citizens out of the country when the Taliban took power.

Belgian prosecutors said they had been investigating EU Parliament corruption for more than a year before the raids and arrests of the past 10 days.

The statement by the Qatari diplomat highlighted its “close” relationship with Belgium.

“Our nations co-operated during the Covid-19 pandemic and Qatar is an important supplier of LNG to Belgium,” it said.

Kaili has been stripped of her duties as the European Parliament's vice president. She and three others have been charged with “criminal organisation, corruption and money laundering”.

The scandal has caused shock waves in the EU parliament amid calls for a general clampdown on dealings with third-country lobbyists.

Updated: December 18, 2022, 12:34 PM
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