Greeks are smart and inventive – this is well-known from history such as the fact that Ancient Greece is the cradle of democracy. Beyond these trivial phrases, one additional piece of information has come to light regarding a Greek lady, Vice-President of the European Parliament Eva Kaili one year ago, namely that she was the perfect ’Bonnie’ to her own Italian ’Clyde’ – an accomplice to her boyfriend, Francesco Giorgi, a parliamentary assistant.
The contents of relevant documents of this case which became famous as cash-for-influence Qatargate scandal have already become publicly available. In a nutshell, corruption and foreign influence in Brussels.
Given that this outrageous scandal was widely publicised, there’s no need of detailing the pieces of information revealed by the investigation – it is much more interesting to have a closer look at the tradecraft of Kaili in order to demonstrate how the European Parliament’s modern-age Socialist Bonnie has been trying to derail her case. Could I say in advance that even the real Bonnie, famous American criminal of the 1930s would have found her methods – a creative and highly innovative tradecraft – helpful and valuable.
According to media reports, after being caught red-handed and arrested, Kaili tried to ’reframe’ her case several times. She is, of course, about escaping criminal accountability, furthermore, she is seeking ways of returning to Brussel’s top echelons, with a head held high.
Continuing on the examples of Bonnie and Clyde, Kaili attempted to win the heart of the people because she was aware, perhaps based on the story of the two mentioned criminals, that a favourable public opinion could be key. That’s why, in a very determined manner, she wanted to win the public narrative. To be successful in this effort, she provided her own versions of truth to the public: according to these versions, she wasn’t a politician who has been involved in criminal activity but rather an innocent victim, more specifically, an innocent and beautiful young mother with a cute little baby.
Eva Kaili, a beautiful young lady indeed, started her carreer as television presenter and rapidly became a Greek political celebrity after joining the Greek socialist party Pasok. Her carreer seemed to broke in half when she was arrested and charged with corruption in December 2022. Later on, she was moved from jail to house arrest in the summer of 2023. After that, she was allowed to return to a hardly restricted life. Our ’Bonnie’ seized this opportunity to launch her own information campaigns, aimed at reaching and capturing the souls of the descent European citizens.
In one of her attemts, she claimed in interviews she gave various European media outlets that her jailing was politically motivated and related to her work investigating the illegal use of the Israeli Pegasus spyware in Europe in the framework of the Special Committee of the EP (PEGA) and, it was actually the Belgian intelligence service which, illegally, have monitored the activity of the members of the PEGA. Tricky, huh? When spreading this particular narrative, Kaili went so far as to say that ’The fact that elected members of Parliament are being spied on by the secret services should raise more concerns about the health of our European democracy’.
As it is obvious from the above, Kaili sought to portray herself as a victim of politics rather than a typical white-collar criminal who intentionally and actively used various means of political power to succees and achieve what she was paid for.
It is not our business to protect the Belgian secret service against Kaili’s misleading information and accusations but in this context, it can however be reasonably stated that Belgians perform extremely well in fair balancing between sides and they’re really committed to politically correct thinking, too. The idea that Kaili was targeted by the Belgian intelligence because she was a member of PEGA is simply unrealistic. However, it is likely that the Belgians launched an information gathering and an operation on the suspects, including Eva Kaili, following a relevant signal from one of the national intelligence services across the EU, let it be a Greek one or any other national intelligence service. In addition, the initial indication concerning a European corruption network could have come from overseas as well. But considering that there is no intention at all to derail this article, let’s quickly return to our original and main path.
It is simply amazing that disregarding the fact that based on the wiretaps, the WhatsApp messages, the available surveillance photographs, the hotel video recordings, luxury properties from unexplained financial assets Eva Kaili’s involvement and guilt could have been supported – except for one thing, namely that the police was not able to obtain hard evidence that indicates Kaili directly received money from Qatar or any other countries -, the exposed Greek MEP proved to be smarter than anyone else: she was able to introduce a new saving idea. In her case, she claimed, all evidence was gathered by the Belgian authorities before the European Parliament voted to lift her immunity, meaning, the evidence was collected illegitimately, therefor it cannot be used in court.
Match point. In the city of European lawmakers, a crucial issue such as the timing of the lifting of immunity was not taken into account. Incredible and also unbelievable – an administrative (?) fault that raises questions about the real determination within the EU to carry this case through to the end.
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As an interesting angle in the Qatargate documents, it should be mentioned that in early 2022, just after Kaili became Vice-President of the European Parliament, she asked Roberta Metsola, EP President, to give her the Middle East and human rights dossiers. All she had to do was ask and she got it immediately. In addition, later on she became vice president who was fully responsible for Middle East issues in the absence of Metsola.
After all this, only one question remains unanswered: is there another high-ranking Bonnie left in the European Parliament or, what Metsola did was only a favour to her lovely friend Eva…?
What is certain is that in the light of this case it is not easy to claim that in Brussels, everything is OK and democratic institutions work free of influence. Moreover, taking into consideration the inertia of the European judiciary system one cannot be certain that the cash-for-influence Qatargate scandal will soon lead to a real career break for the suspects, including Eva Kaili and Francesco Georgi or, at least, to an under-performance of the concerned socialist parties during European elections next June. New ’Bonnies’ and new ’Clydes’ appear, with new dreams and ideas that they are eager to realise in the upcoming five-year period. Right now, this is the European perspective.