BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A Belgian judge ruled on Thursday that European lawmaker Eva Kaili will remain in custody for another month as an investigation continues into corruption charges in a graft case involving World Cup host Qatar, Belgian prosecutors said.
Kaili, who is Greek, was stripped of her role as European Parliament Vice President over the case earlier this month, after she was accused of accepting bribes from Qatar in one of the biggest corruption scandals to hit Brussels.
The prosecutor’s office said in a statement that Kaili, a 44-year-old Socialist, can appeal the decision within 24 hours. If she did, she would appear before the Brussels appeals court within 15 days.
Kaili’s Athens lawyer Michalis Dimitrakopoulos told Greek Mega TV she does not plan to appeal.
“We want Mrs Kaili to be judged with legal criteria and not with political interventions,” Dimitrakopoulos said.
He added that Brussels is the heart of Europe and that the court’s decision was probably meant to set an example for other lawmakers that corruption will not be tolerated
Kaili has denied any wrongdoing and previously stated through her lawyer that she is innocent.
Belgian prosecutors have charged her and three Italians with taking part in a criminal organisation, money laundering and corruption.
A source close to the investigation has said they were believed to have pocketed money from Qatar, host of the soccer World Cup. The energy-rich Gulf state has denied any wrongdoing.
In a speech in the European Parliament on Nov. 21, at the start of the month-long World Cup, Kaili lashed out at Qatar’s detractors and hailed the energy-rich Gulf state as “a frontrunner in labour rights.”