The European Parliament (EP) was rocked by a serious corruption scandal on December 9. On this date, when international anti-corruption day is celebrated, the Belgian police exposed the corruption network operating in the EP and arrested several of its members.
The fact that Eva Kaili, the vice-president of the European Parliament and a Greek MP, was among those detained created a sensational effect. Belgian federal investigators accused those detained, including Kaili, of illegally lobbying in favor of one of the Gulf countries (which Western media later revealed to be Qatar) and trying to influence decisions made in the EP by receiving large sums of money as bribes and various expensive gifts. 600,000 euros in cash were discovered as a result of the searches carried out at 16 different points in Brussels in connection with the case. More than 1.5 million euros in cash were found in suitcases and briefcases during the last week's searches. Investigators stated that the mentioned corruption network has been trying to influence various economic and political decisions of the EP for the benefit of that Gulf country for several months.
This latest scandal in the EP has shown that bribery and corruption are already systemic in European institutions. The scale of the problem is also alarming European politicians. Commenting on the issue, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that he was horrified by the scale of corruption in the EP. He admitted that he was shocked when he got acquainted with the details of the case.
Michelle van Hulten, an employee of "Transparency International", also said that the level of corruption in the EP is terrible: "I am not surprised by the presence of corruption in the Parliament, but the scale of it shocks me."
Of course, the large-scale and entrenched corruption problem in EP will not be solved with the arrest of Eva Kayli. Because Kaili's job was simply to receive and distribute bribes. The network of corruption in the parliament is wider. Thousands of lobbying organizations and groups are now swirling around the parliament because they can do anything they want by giving bribes.
Although only Qatar is mentioned in this latest case, other countries and groups are also involved. For example, the anti-Azerbaijani group operating in EP is also part of this network. They also accept a large amount of bribes from Armenian oligarchs and mafia leaders who want to support Armenia and continue their illegal business activities. Those oligarchs who performed illegal business activities in Karabakh during the occupation directed part of their illegal wealth to EP representatives and EU officials, along with other institutions and institutions.
One of them is Kaspar Karampetyan, the main figure of the Armenian mafia in Belgium. At the same time, Karampetyan, a citizen of Greece, Armenia, and Luxembourg, is the president of the organization "All-European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy". This person built his business through various illegal business activities, including illegal diamond smuggling. Karampetyan, whose name is also involved in mafia activities, distributed millions of funds to European officials and deputies for the protection of Armenia and his business interests.
Vartan Sirmakes is another oligarch of Armenian origin who bribed European parliamentarians in huge amounts. Sirmakes, a Swiss citizen, performed completely illegal business activities in various fields such as the banking sector, agriculture, and mining industry in Karabakh during the occupation period, and expanded his business empire by looting the wealth of Azerbaijan. Sirmakes, whom Serzh Sargsyan appointed as the consul general of Armenia in Marseille, tried to gather support for the defense of both Armenia and his personal interests by distributing the funds to European parliamentarians in the form of bribes and expensive gifts.
Sirmakes directed the funds obtained from the looting of Azerbaijan's material resources to support Armenian diaspora organizations. One of the organizations to which he provides financial assistance is the "European Friends of Armenia" (EuFoA). Sirmakes provided financial assistance to this organization, whose goal is to create relations between the main economic and political centers of Europe, as well as the people who have the authority to make important decisions, Armenia and the so-called organization "Artsakh". "European Friends of Armenia", which is known to have "close" relations with the deputies of the European Parliament, tries to cover up its corrupt relations as much as possible after the Eva Kaili scandal.
Some deputies of the EP, who accepted bribes from these and other Armenian oligarchs and mafia leaders, are naturally selected for their anti-Azerbaijani biased activities and are members of the parliament's corruption network. It is reported that there are also members of the 33-member "Friendship Group with Armenia" in the corruption network of the EP. Although statements targeting Azerbaijan and Turkey in the EP are announced on behalf of the EP, most of them are signed by that "group of 33". Some of these deputies even visited Armenia with Karampetya's funding.
In total, the names of about 70 deputies are mentioned in the corruption scandal in EP. If a corruption mechanism has been established at such a level in the EP, there is no doubt that the same situation exists in the national parliaments. It is not a coincidence that most of the deputies of the European Parliament elected for their anti-Azerbaijani activities are also from France.
After the Eva Kaili scandal, the Belgian police announced that they have launched wider investigations against criminal organizations with ties to the corruption network, as well as money laundering. After that, the members of the "Armenian friendship group" who are members of that network try to be extremely careful not to expose their connections and actions based on corruption. After Kaili's arrest, several articles were removed from the AP's website. Among the deleted information are those reflecting cooperation with the "Armenian diaspora". At the same time, Armenian organizations, such as "European Friends of Armenia", "All-European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy", "The Armenian General Charity Union", which were "friends" with members of the European Parliament, deleted some of the information clearly reflecting cooperation with the European Parliament from their accounts.
Unfortunately, the socio-political environment in both the United States and Europe provides opportunities for Armenian oligarchs and other interest groups to achieve their goals illegally. Corruption is the main reason for such illegal "achievements". First of all, this harms the EU itself. According to statistics, corruption costs the European economy between 180 billion and 990 billion euros every year. In 2016, it was stated in the document published by the EP that this amount is about 6% of the EU's gross domestic product (GDP), causing a decrease in taxes and revenues.
All this shows how deep-rooted and widespread corruption is in the EU as well as in the EP.