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European Parliament vice president expelled by party amid corruption probe involving Gulf nation

<i>Yiorgos Karahalis/Reuters</i><br/>Eva Kaili in parliament in Athens on November 4
Yiorgos Karahalis/Reuters
Eva Kaili in parliament in Athens on November 4

By Niamh Kennedy and Chris Liakos, CNN

Eva Kaili, one of the European Parliament’s vice presidents, has been expelled by her political party in Greece amid a corruption probe.

The Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), one of Greece’s main opposition parties, said in a statement Friday: “Following the latest developments and the investigation by Belgian authorities into corruption of European officials, MEP Eva Kaili is expelled from PASOK-Movement of change by decision of President Nikos Androulakis.”

Kaili’s political group within the European Parliament, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, also announced on Friday they were suspending Kaili from the group with immediate effect “in response to the ongoing investigations.”

This comes as Belgium’s federal prosecutor confirmed to Belgian public service broadcaster RTBF on Friday that one of the parliament’s 14 vice presidents had been taken in for questioning as part of a probe into corruption involving the European Parliament and a country from the Persian Gulf.

In a statement, the prosecutor said that for two years, Belgian federal police inspectors “suspected a country from the Persian Gulf of influencing economic and political decisions of the European parliament,” according to RTBF.

The Belgian police suspect that the country transferred “consequential sums of money” or “important gifts” to significant actors within the European Parliament, according to RTBF.

The federal prosecutor did not identify the vice president but said they were one of four individuals taken in for questioning.

“Among the arrested persons (is) an elderly European parliamentarian,” the prosecutor said.

Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates all surround the Persian Gulf.

Searches carried out as part of the inquiry resulted in the seizure of roughly 600,000 Euros ($632,000) in cash, according to RTBF. Computer materials and phones were also seized as part of the sixteen searches which took place in the Belgian areas of Ixelles, Schaerbeek, Crainhem, Forest and Brussels.

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