European prosecutor requests immunity lifted from two Greek MEPs

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European chief prosecutor requested on Thursday that the European Parliament lift the immunity from prosecution of two Greek members over suspicions of fraud.

The prosecutor’s office said in a statement that its request followed a report from EU anti-fraud office OLAF and suspicions of fraud related to the management of parliamentary allowances and, in particular, pay for assistants.

It said the two are socialist Eva Kaili, who currently faces criminal charges over alleged payments from Qatar, and Maria Spyraki, of the centre-right Nea Demokratia party.

“In accordance with the national applicable law, Ms Kaili and Ms Spyraki are entitled to the presumption of innocence,” the European prosecutor’s office said.

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office is designed to protect EU taxpayers’ money by investigating and prosecuting crimes affecting the financial interests of the EU.

There was no immediate reply to calls to the office of Spyraki and an email sent to her. Kaili’s lawyer in Belgium declined to comment.

The European Parliament said it had received the request and immediately started the relevant procedure. It can take several weeks to determine whether to lift immunity of one of its members.

Kaili is in detention on charges of money laundering and corruption related to alleged payments she and three others received from Qatar in a scandal that has rocked the European Parliament.

Qatar and Kaili, via a lawyer, have denied any wrongdoing.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels Editing by Matthew Lewis


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