ATHENS — Greek authorities have asked Panama for information about possible transfers of money from Qatar to accounts belonging to MEP Eva Kaili, who is currently being held in Brussels awaiting her corruption trial.
The chairman of Greece’s anti-money laundering authority, Charalampos Vourliotis, has sent an urgent request to authorities in Panama – a well-known tax haven notorious for its lack of financial transparency – asking to be informed if transfers of some 20 million euros had been transferred from Qatar to accounts that may have been opened by Kaili or members of his family, according to agency officials.
The MEP and former vice-president of the European Parliament has been in prison since December 9, after being arrested and charged in a sprawling probe into Qatar’s lobbying operation in Brussels that also ensnared Kaili’s partner, former MEP and head of an NGO. Shortly after Kaili’s arrest, the Greek anti-money laundering authority froze all assets belonging to Kaili and her family.
Vourliotis’ request came after messages began circulating on social media, which were later picked up by Spanish and Greek media, claiming to show bank documents for Panamanian accounts belonging to Kaili and his family members receiving deposits from Qatar. The messages allege the accounts were held at Bladex Bank of Panama and belonged to Kaili, her father Alexandros Kailis and her mother Maria Ignatiadou. They claim the accounts contain 20 million euros collected through two Qatar deposits in Kaili; 4 million euros via two depots from Qatar to Kailis; and 4 million euros via two depots from Qatar to Ignatiadou.
Kaili’s lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, who insisted on his client’s innocence, said the documents were false and that he had asked the Greek authorities to seek help from Panama “to establish the falsification documents of the mythical fund transfers from Qatar to Eva Kaili.”
Vourliotis asked Panamanian officials to check if there are accounts under the name of Kaili or members of his family, as well as copies of their financial transactions, and if there are safe deposit boxes held in Panamanian banks belonging to to the family, and whether there is evidence. investments made in real estate.
Last week, Greek authorities seized nearly a hectare of land on the island of Paros bought by Kaili and her partner, Francesco Giorgi, along with the account used to buy it, pending the money laundering investigation.
Dimitrakopoulos said the purchase of the property was legal and the money used to buy it came from Kaili’s own earnings.