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.
Kaili’s lawyer in Belgium declined to comment.
Spyraki said on Instagram that she agrees that her immunity be lifted to make clear that she “does not have a single euro of financial difference with the European Parliament.” The issue, she said, concerns an allowance received by a former colleague who missed European Parliament sessions due to a serious personal issue.
“I have nothing to do with Qatargate,” she said, referring to the graft scandal under investigation by Belgian authorities. “I have nothing to do with any other case,” Spyraki said.
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.