Leaders of the EU Parliament accused foreign powers on Monday of trying to corrupt European democracy, as a probe into alleged bribes from World Cup host Qatar widened.
Belgian investigators, meanwhile raided offices in the parliament’s Brussels base, seeking to seize computer data to track the alleged web of corruption.
One of the vice presidents of the parliament, Greek socialist MEP Eva Kaili, has been charged with “criminal organisation, corruption and money laundering”.
The Parliament’s president, Maltese conservative Roberta Metsola, vowed to members meeting at their seat in Strasbourg on Monday that the body’s integrity would be restored.
Searches were carried out at the homes of MEPs and their associates in Belgium and around a million euros in cash has been recovered after allegations that Qatar has been seeking to burnish its image.
Belgian prosecutors said 600,000 euros ($630,000) were found at the home of one suspect, 150,000 euros at the flat of an MEP and several hundred thousand euros in a suitcase in a hotel room.