Hard Facts: The life and political carreer of Eva Kaili, from the very beginning

Hard Facts: The life and political carreer of Eva Kaili, from the very beginning Facebook Twitter
Illustration: Joia Kokla/ LIFO

Full Transcript of the LIFO podcast that was created by Aris Dimokidis

Grigoris Goudaras (TV presenter): Good evening Mrs. Kaili. Congratulations. Your daughter, Ariadni, is crying...

Eva Kaili:. We are in Milan for the weekend.

G.G: Congratulations for your election to the position of vice-president of the European Parliament. It is a great honor for our country and, I imagine, for you as well.

Eva Kaili: Yes, it was very important. I don't know if it sounds easy to some people, but it was very difficult to secure the candidacy from the Social Democrats but I managed to get my colleagues to support me. I have worked a lot on many legislative cases with them so I created a big  inter-party and transnational network. I think of it as a great opportunity for our country and hope I can do something important with it and more...

Aris Dimokidis (journalist, presenter of the podcast): At the beginning of 2022 Eva Kaili had everything. By the end of the year she would have lost it. This is the hard truth about Eva Kaili.

Since Mrs. Kaili first entered politics, many people said that she had protective patrons who direct and control her sometimes behind the scenes and, most importantly, selfishly.  Evangelos Venizelos has been mentioned alot, however, talking to people who know her and her family I've learned that perhaps the greatest protector of them all was her own father. It was her father that took her by the hand and taught her everything he knew. A person who knew her father for years has mentioned that he recognized in her the influence of the family system that prepared and taught her. "Sometimes, It felt like talking to her father", he tells me.

Her father, Alexandros Kallis, is a well-known person in Thessaloniki, a member of the PASOK party of Akis Tsochatzopoulos for many years who later collaborated with ex-Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis of New Democracy.

Writing about “the bribing of Eva Kaili”, former MEP Michalis Tremopoulos would say to the newspaper Efimerida ton Syntakton that the apple fell from the apple tree. "We know very well the role that Eva's father Alexandros Kallis has played in covering up the corruption scandals in the Prefecture of Thessaloniki", says Tremopoulos. “It even seems that Eva's father not only encouraged his daughter morally to accept bribes but he also helped with the transportation and concealment of cash. For years, Kailis coordinated a multi-member ring that issued false certificates for projects that were never done and signed contracts with people who never set foot in the premises. Kailis also hunted down key prosecution witnesses of the Psomiadis scheme”. According to Tremopoulos, during his student years he was an extreme right-winger who spent time in EPEN and ended up in PASOK. However, his connections with the Psomiadis scheme had no ideological content. “He moved to it when various ‘smelly’ affairs began to come to light and despite the rumors he was promoted to the position of deputy General Director of Transport and Communications.”

Kailis remains in his position until today under the Regional Governor Apostolos Tzizikostas. When Tzitzikostas first took the position he had said that we cannot remove him from his position until his case is finalized at the courts. Now I see that he had sent a letter to the ministry asking for information about the legal situation of Mr. Kailis in order to decide if he should refer him to disciplinary proceedings.

We are listening to Michalis Tremopoulos on Flash channel:

Michalis Tremopoulos: “This man coordinated a multi-member, self-interested ring in the Prefecture of Thessaloniki and Central Macedonia, a hidden system, and tried to cover up ‘smelly’ cases during the tenure of Panagiotis Psomiadis. Some of them have been indicted for felonies as embezzlers of public money. We are talking about millions of euros. Τhere were a number of other such issues but this is of interest to us because after many postponements it is being tried on January 19, 2023 with Mr. Kailis as the main defendant.”

Aris Dimokidis: Panagiotis Psomiadis argued that:

Panagiotis Psomiadis: I upgraded him and made him director because he had the qualifications and Mr. Tzitzikostas continued. From then on I didn't have anything to do with it.

Aris Dimokidis: According to information from Aftodioikisi.gr, Alexandros Kailis has filed at the Periphery of Central Macedonia a request for retirement and in the last few days he is fighting to get his pension as soon as possible.

Back to Kaili's first contact with politics. She had been a member of PASOK since she was 14. A member of the PASOK youth, she hesitated about what to study.

Eva Kaili: The biggest dilemma I had was when I had to decide what to study. I really liked law and architecture but I finally went for architecture.

Aris Dimokidis: At the University she was president of the student union. Those who remember her from back then say she seemed trained in pressuring and getting whatever she wanted. They remember her confidence. She was taught by her family to believe in herself and already knew most political tricks. In her private life she was a different person. Someone who knew her, says she was a kind, pleasant, light girl, but not a bimbo. Intelligent but without particular depth and political weight.

"I was impressed" , they say, "that she later did so well in politics because although she seemed very ambitious she didn't seem like she would have the qualifications. When I learned she became MEP and vice president of the European Parliament I thought, oh well, if Eva can do it then anyone can do it".

Her political career began in 2002 when she became the youngest member of the Municipal Council of Thessaloniki. She was a candidate for PASOK led by Mayor-candidate Spyros Vougias. The PASOK youth had recommended some people to Mr. Vougias and one of those people was Kaili. She was elected in a very good position with the support of PASOK youth and the office of then Minister (and later disgraced and convicted criminal) Akis Tsochatzopoulos.

I remember from the local media the grumbling in PASOK when they found out that in the Municipal Council Kaili, almost from the beginning, started to promote another agenda in cooperation with municipal councilors who were considered corrupt, even in favor of the opponent of Vassilis Papageorgopoulos who would later be convicted of embezzlement of public money and money laundering from criminal activities.

Two years later, the position of municipal councilor would not feel enough for her and she runs for parliament always with the support of Akis Tsochatzopoulos. She did well in the elections and would have entered the Parliament if PASOK leader George Papandreou had not decided to keep the seat of Thessaloniki for himself. Kaili considered it a great injustice, but it wasn't. Papandreou was a candidate in Larissa and Thessaloniki. In Larissa, PASOK had won only one seat and if he took the seat, the prefecture of Larissa would be left without a local representative, whereas Thessaloniki already had significant representation.

But she hated Papandreou for this and, having stayed out of Parliament, went to Athens, to work as a TV presenter at the media giant Lambrakis Organization. whose system had embraced her. A journalist of that time remembers that The Lambrakis Organization tried to pressure George Papandreou with articles to give her the seat, but to no avail.

In the critical period after her non-election she is given the chance to be a news anchorwoman at Mega Channel, without having any journalistic studies or similar experience. At Mega Channel they still say that no matter how much she tried she wasn't good. They finally gave her the small weekend noon News bulletin, where she just read from the autocue. But she could even read the teleprompter properly, says a technician who is still laughing at her gaffes. Like when she called the island Ai Stratis, Istrati. Nonetheless she became well-known all over Greece.

Presenter Natalie Kakkava remembers her success: The viewership was as high as 27, 30% at noon, for her eyes only. She stayed for three years. She was very hard-working with a great disposition to learn and always very noble as a person.

Aris Dimokidis: Later on, speaking at Rise TV Kaili herself seemed very proud about her ratings.

Eva Kaili: It was busy and entertaining. After three years I wanted to do something different. I was looking to make a show as well, but I finally decided to do politics.

Aris Dimokidis: Although she tried hard to start her own show, she did not succeed and therefore entered politics. Journalist Prokopis Doukas was one of the few public critics of her. Today I asked him why.

Prokopis Doukas: Here we're dealing with a person, whose fishy situation never rang any bells. The bell didn't ring for me because she was a woman, there’s no sexism involved. The so-called appearance tool is not working only for women but for men as well. Historically, it's a tool for men too, from former prime minister Konstantinos Karamanlis (the elder), whose charm helped a lot, to Tsochatzopoulos and Papantoniou, who were voted for by the ladies of PASOK because they were the handsome ones, and who, by the way, are the most corrupt of PASOK. First of all, the people who opened the doors for her never took into consideration her qualifications. What has this woman done in her professional career? Since it's my profession I know very well that she was a presenter who didn't know how to speak. Her beautiful eyes? That was her career path. Then she entered politics. This was her big breakthrough. She wasn't distinguished in any field. Moreover, no one noticed the grifting. She was where the wind blew. The ruthlessness of it - nobody paid attention. Not one of these journalists who painted her as a saint wondered that what happened in Brussels was the result of very good networking of public relations and, on which Vasiliki Siouti of Lifo writes about. Nobody wondered how this woman with evident political lightness and without political weight managed to do all this, with her looks as her only weapon. When we say these things about some women, we're being accused of sexism. No, there is no sexism here. The same goes for men. You cannot be elected to such a serious position and be a clueless athlete, for example, who has never said anything of substance. Still, even the athlete has excelled at his field. Where had Kaili excelled? I personally believe that anyone who enters politics must have distinguished themselves in their field. I do not see that this woman has distinguished herself. The doors opened simply because of her looks. In fact, I am reading in retrospect that she was used as an alterative to her rival Elena Rapti (of New Democracy). She wasn't elected in order to satisfy the public of Thessaloniki, they just wanted to sent a beautiful woman of their own to the parliament. But we forget that they are our representatives, they legislate on our behalf! We vote like it's the Eurovision Song Contest. The only good thing is that she was very active, but as it turned out, she was active too much in her own interest and the interest of others than in the interest of the European citizens.

Aris Dimokidis: We are still in 2007. Akis Tsochatzopoulos who had helped her the previous times had collapsed politically and could not help her. So Kaili turned to the opponent of Tsochatzopoulos for the primacy in Thessaloniki, Evangelos Venizelos. As many revelations about Akis Tsochatzopoulos would come to light in the following years Kaili would almost pretend she didn't know him. In the same way she was disowned after her own scandal by Nikos Androulakis leader of PASOK.

They tell me that she was moving "from the one leader of the city to the next one.”

In the 2007 election she finally becomes an MP. She was very popular with the youth and one of the first politicians who joined Facebook.

Mega Channel report from 2008: “By clicking the add icon you can become friends with anyone who accepts your request. Among the first to join Facebook was Mrs. Eva Kaili, PASOK MP with 5.000 friends.We must say that you are one of the politicians with the most friends. Your Facebook is full, a second page has also been created and from what you told me, it is also going to be full.

Eva Kaili: And we're off to the third one. For me it's very pleasant because having so many people who want to be your friend you already talk to some of them and it's a very nice way to spend your time. For me it's also very real because I meet so many of these people on the street. Everywhere I go there would be a Facebook friend or when I'm home people send impressions or comments and what not. It is almost like a reality show.

Aris Dimokidis: In 2008 newspaper To Vima once again supported Eva Kaili in her fight against Nikos Kotzias who at the time taught at the University of Piraeus. He was an informal advisor to Pasok leader George Papandreou and would later become Foreign Minister in the SYRIZA-ANEL government. Kaili was attending a master's program but did not attend all the compulsory classes taught by Mr. Kotzias. She said that it was pre-election period and she did not have time and basically asked for her absences to be erased. Vima Columnists supported her.

His answer?

Nikos Kotzias: I only feel shame from the fact that Mrs. Kaili did not participate in a single lesson, did not do the necessary assignments, had the absolute worst in absences and now demands to pass without any knowledge of the subject and then charges me with political passion through micropolitics on the floor. It is a shame that a young person tries to get a degree that she did not work for and even being a member of PASOK she tries to blackmail first with a far-right rector, then through New Democracy officials and finally through columnists in Vima. It’s a shame that these extortionists in PASOK.

Aris Dimokidis: Mrs. Kaili did not give up and requested in a letter sent to the rector of the University to be examined by a committee of professors and not by Mr. Kotzias. The General Assembly of the Department accepted her exemption and she was examined and finally got a degree. Much was rumored back then about her character and the way in which she had demanded it but also the support she received from the podium and her political supporters. Mrs. Kaili defeated Mr. Kotzias in this confrontation, but revenge is a dish that is eaten cold. It is interesting what Mr. Kotzias said upon learning of her arrest – we are getting there soon.

It's 2009 and she is voted again to be an MP. A person who had worked on her campaign remembers that she had several problems with her fellow candidates. Especially if they were somewhat good looking. It is said that she would ask the Lambrakis Organisation to stigmatize other people (to paint them as super sexy), who she thought were targeting the same voters. In the Parliament she was in the group of 30 MPs who supported the Papandreou rival Evangelos Venizelos and undermined George Papandreou. In 2011, the Papandreou government was almost brought down by Venizelos's people, led by Kaili, who essentially blackmailed the prime minister who was elected with 45% of the vote that they would not give him a vote of confidence unless he left the prime ministership.

Eva Kaili (2011): The past few days I have clearly stated my decisions against the obsession with a Papandreou referendum which would risk the future of all Greeks and especially those of my generation. I feel that I have been fully vindicated by the developments. Fortunately this decision was withdrawn by the prime minister at least for the moment. So the data on which I had based my decisions have been overturned. I know that the communication game and the attempt to create impressions will be attempted and it will be difficult for me. There was already an extraordinary attack. There is a lot that has been written and a lot that hasn't been written just because I'm a woman. Apparently they haven't understood that we women have both a reason and an opinion. I don't know what these gentlemen think. I don't know what they have contributed if they think they are not part of the problem but their attitude and morals characterize them. I am very sorry for them.

Reporter: -What are you planning to do?

Eva Kaili: Everything is fluid and I can't get anything concrete now from Mr. Papandreou to keep the commitments and intentions that seem to exist for national consultation so that the country avoids bankruptcy. My main concern is the national interest. I have a lot of data. Everything changes by the hour.

Aris Dimokidis: She received many bad comments for her stance. Years later, speaking with Dora Anagnostopoulos, she would say on whether she had experienced sexism or sexual harassment.

Eva Kaili: Many times. It was the minister at the time, Xynidis and Kastanidis, who addressed me in a very disparaging and ugly manner, which was in part rude. Xynidis referred to me as a "garter", and Kastanidis, who said that I'm not a serious person in the political scene. I believe they thought that they should be able to address a colleague in this way, without political arguments. Since I have a platform and a public role, if I won't answer and they continue to be in these positions then the example we give to young girls who do not have the same opportunities is to shut up and accept this behavior and these stereotypes will continue to be repeated.

Aris Dimokidis: I'm not sure that what Haris Kastanidis had said to her would be considered sexist even by today's standards. We will come back to Mr. Kastanidis later.

Giorgos Papandreou leaves, Venizelos becomes president of PASOK, followed by the government of Loukas Papadimos and then the 2012 elections. This time she came first in Thessaloniki, but history repeated herself as Evangelos Venizelos was not able to take another seat, so he had to take her seat at Thessaloniki. It is said that he gave her various promises in order to “appease” her”. As PASOK officials at the time tell me, it was a common secret that even though she was a strong and active person, she had absolutely no desire or skills for an actual, hard job, but only for a superficial job that she woud gain something from.

She lived in Athens and engaged in her personal networking, until Mr. Venizelos hired her as the party's press representative and then as a candidate for the European Parliament.

Before that, however, he made her president of the Research Center for Equality Issues. After Kaili’s arrest, journalist Sofia Mandilara made various allegations about that period. Here she is in an interview on Katerina Kainourgiou's morning show.

Journalist: You are talking about a shameless, arrogant , corrupt and dirty Eva Kaili.

Sofia Mandilara: These characterizations are of course my personal opinion in the sense that they are my own assessment but my assessment is based on incidents which I can prove with documents, email and witnesses. They were trying to alter the results of a competition in order to hire a friend of hers and her sister's. Her sister had an office as director of international relations. I also witnessed her furious attempt to fire a colleague. I don't know why, but at the time it was assumed in the office that she wanted to serve some procedures and the specific employee was obstructing her.

Aris Dimokidis: Articles of that period (2014) reported that the then Minister of Health Adonis Georgiadis had appointed her father the president of a big hospital. It is not true that he had appointed him as president. He was a simple member of the Board of Directors, an honorary and unpaid position. “It is unfair that his hitherto honorable course is tarnished because of me”, Kaili had said and some had laughed bitterly. He would later argue: "They tried too many times to transfer him unfavorably because of me. And I think if I wasn't in politics he would have done a lot more than he does now".

When the former mayor of Thessaloniki, Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, was convicted she tweeted: "I hope the money every gang in my town stole is returned. Then perhaps justice will have been done at every level".

The same period her friendly relationship with Russian-Greek businessman Ivan Savvidis, the owner of PAOK, is much discussed. According to Espresso, “she is one of Ivan Savvidis' bodyguards and their first public appearance was at the Karaiskakis stadium. Although Mrs. Kaili had since then publicly denied that they cooperated , although it was never announced, she plays an active role in his contacts with the local community”. A photo with Mr. Savvidis and a photo with Vassilis Milionis and photos of her from Mykonos were widely circulated after her arrest.

In addition, there she was also at a concert of Rouvas where, in the midst of bankruptcy and a huge crisis, some people played lobster-war and bathed in champagne.

In 2014, Kaili and another political child of Venizelos, Nikos Androulakis (now leader of PASOK) are the only two MEPs elected with PASOK / Elia.

“Euro paradise has plans for Eva Kaili”, wrote newspaper Proto Thema. “After twelve years of party persecution the beauty of the Greek Parliament is preparing to conquer the European Parliament… Feeling as the absolute winner, as the candidate who collected the most votes Eva Kaili enters her car, opens the windows, plays her favorite song Don't You Worry Child and sings loudly the verse "heaven has plans for you". In a few hours she will fly to Brussels and the feelings are mixed. On the one hand, the excitement of victory and the take off of her political career. On the other a new life for five years in a foreign country far away from family and friends. She prefers to enjoy her victory and step on the gas in the direction of Varkiza, certain that everything will be fine...”

Aris Dimokidis: At the beginning of January 2015, elections have been announced and George Papandreou has created his own party, KIDISO. Eva Kaili is PASOK's press representative.

Eva Kaili: Happy new year. We are saddened by the parallel political action that takes place with George Papandreou's cold-blooded attempt to split PASOK and a few days before the elections to found his own personal and privately owned party. Unfortunately, he behaves as an heir who wants to destroy PASOK, which was founded by his father, a party which honored him by electing him president and making him prime minister. It will not succeed, as Andreas Papandreou said, PASOK is neither inherited nor divided.

Aris Dimokidis: In the elections, despite the honorable efforts of Mrs. Kaili, PASOK gathered only 4.68% and came out seventh. KIDISO was one position further down and out of Parliament with with 2.47%.

A journalist who covers European reporting tells me about the partnerships she made with lobbyists - from the beginning of her first term in the European Parliament- which did not always seem to be completely formal. “And why didn't you say something?” I ask the journalist. “Anyone who dared to say anything was accused of sexism”, she responds.  

Regarding lobbying in the European Parliament, former MEP Michalis Tremopoulos would say: "I know there are lobbyists there, maybe 22,000 of them, among which only two thirds are registered. For the rest, an effort is made to always record the efforts made by the contacts who are the subject of the discussions. We cannot rule out these contacts within them. It could be a union, it could be Greenpeace, it could be anyone. But there are also efforts that do not pass this filter.”

Aris Dimokidis: You must have moral resistance to withstand the pressure. She herself may not be especially insightful (that was later proven by the fact that she put herself and her child in danger) but she was familiar with cynicism and how she could claim any goal she set by any means.

In a male-dominated world she had advantages.

Presenter: Do you think your looks have helped you or not?

Eva Kaili: It helped me as much as it made it difficult for me. I think both. Each one of us is the sum of all that he tries to do and is not only his looks but also the work he has put in.

Aris Dimokidis: In politics even if you start out to save the world along the way you become more cynical and more cruel. Power corrupts even the most benevolent. Let alone someone who comes from a controversial background with controversial allies. In the end there is a risk of forgetting why you started. A former politician tells me you support your party in order to be in the center of power. Benefit from greed is the worst thing that leads you to a place of no return. You want more and more. And while Kaili was receiving a hefty salary from the European Parliament and various allowances, she also made this statement to a then government SYRIZA member.

Eva Kaili: What are you doing to give benefits to the lazy.

Syriza Member: Are lazy those who take social benefits? The 2,5 million people who didn't have access to healthcare because of unemployment?

Aris Dimokidis: In another appearance she clarified: “Greeks have a dignity that cannot be bought with benefits. But right now what we are doing is that we are selling off a lot of the country. There are no investments for development because every day that passes in businesses close. So we do it to give benefits to people who are lazy and live without working. Instead of supporting medium enterprises we drown them in over-taxation.”

"Benefits are for lazy people. For socialists, there are garbage bags full of money", would comment songwriter Stathis Drogosis after her arrest.

Interesting posts on Instagram from that time. “Some birds say never apologize for who you are" and "the greatest pleasure in life is doing what others tell you you can't do". And she did it in 2019 when Fofi Gennimata, then leader of PASOK, asked her to run for the mayorship of Thessaloniki. She refused because she didn't want to leave the European Parliament for a less glamorous position full of problems and difficulties. Gennimata was forced to do her a favor. Kaili would, once more be a candidate for the European Parliament in 2019.

She even sent a TV message: “In these European elections, it is important to support useful people.”

Almost 150,000 voters supported her. The journalist Prokopis Doukas had tweeted with a lot of irony: “Apparently because of her great political weight they grant her the nice opportunity to represent the country and collect a whooping salary. Mrs. Kaili tweeted back: "Conveniently appointed ballots are over. Those who have the political weight that suit us have the right to be nominated and judged. I'm sorry you targeted me with an obscene argument.” “I didn't use any sidewalk jargon and I didn't aim for any targeting, on the contrary", Prokopis Doukas answered, "You have the right to be judged, but you also have the obligation to accept criticism, and even harsh criticism as a representative of the people.

I asked him about it today:

Prokopis Doukas: I was disturbed and I only made a comment in 2018 without even mentioning her name, because I didn't want to be confrontational about it. Some people wondered how dare I say such a thing. I'm afraid I've now been completely vindicated.. Somehow we have to find a way for worthy educated, moral people to go into politics. There will always be grifters in politics, you can't escape that, but at least we need to have some criteria. I asked an old executive today and he said we saw it, we all knew, but it's a long distance to go from grifting to fully corrupt. Indeed, but let there be no substratum of characters and political characters of political personalities who are ready to go where the wind blows. You can tell which people are moral and honest in politics. They may also disappoint us, but at least let's choose the ones that have some merit.

Aris Dimokidis: Prokopis Doukas had ended that 2018 Twitter conversation concluding: "I may be wrong and misjudge you, I will gladly retract when a political reason convinces me. There are many disturbing phenomena in our political life. The Social Democrats are in a tight rope and generally deserve better.

However, at that time, Doukas was completely against the tide.

The Greek media showed her at glamorous weddings with impressive floral jumpsuits, they asked her how she managed to lost her extra pounds, they asked her to pose as a model holding an apple.

And in politics there were tons of press about how great she was: The group System of A Down thanked her for her intervention in the European Parliament, she was constantly listed as one of the 50 best MEPs of each year. In 2018 she received the “MEP of the year award” for the digital age. She was featured in British Vogue along with Kate Middleton and Amal Clooney in an article about their hair, she became president of an important Committee for the future of science and technology, she was in the list with the 20 most influential MEPs. Even the German magazine Spiegel had included her in its list as woman of the year and later called her MEP of the year! (“The Germans will have a serious opponent. We pity our German MEPs who have to compete with Eva Kaili.”)

And all these awards convinced a lot of people how important her presence there was. Today a person from Brussels tells me that all these are fake, they are just good public relations and they don't mean anything.

Of course there were signs that sometimes she overstated things:

In an article they addressed the SYRIZA Minister of Justice Stavros Kontonis in 2018 she claimed that “communist criminals killed my grandfather. You hear? Communist criminals burned my family home after looting it.”

However, fact checkers found out that this never happened. So she said it wasn’t here actual grandfather but a previous husband of her grandmother.

She would reply to Mega about it: "I should have clarified who was in the first place. We called them both grandpa". However the same fact checkers said they found out that this “grandpa” was killed in a row about a love affair, and not from communists.

In 2019 Kaili starts her second term in the Europarliament and continues to have contacts with lobbyists. As a Social Democrat she's in demand. Usually in matters of interest those who have objections are the ones that lobbyists focus on to bend those objections. The Social Democrats are usually (or pretend to be) more humanists and in favor of human rights. “It’s not all of the of course. But you have to give them something to get around their supposed moral objections”, a lobbyist tells me.

Of course it is not only the Social Democrats who do business with the lobbies. One of the problems is that in Greece there is no control over the assets of the MPs or MEPs. Mrs. Kaili had never been checked by the Economic Committee of the Greek Parliament, while when the scandal broke, it was easily found that she had bought a house and estates in Paros etc with surprisingly little money, which leads to suspicion of money laundering.

In the European Parliament, she had the valuable help of her sister, Maddalena Kaili, who, according to newspaper Vima, is well connected in Brussels and declares herself to be an adviser on European Politics and legislation and a founding member of the Non-profit platform Made.

It’s not a secret that Eva Kaili worked hard in favor of cryptocurrency companies. Rumor had it that she knew nothing about crypto but she was interested because there was a lot of money to it. In a post on Twitter, American economist Nouriel Roubini would write after her arrest: “The corrupt head cheerleader. Queen of crypto was taking bribes in cash and not worthless cryptocurrencies. The ultimate hypocrisy".

I read a very interesting article by LIFO journalist Niko Efstathiou on the subject. I asked him to summarize the findings of his report.

Niko Efstathiou: “Since 2017, long before the exponential rise of cryptocurrencies, Eva Kaili has been a fervent supporter of blockchain technology in the European Parliament. She did so through countless legislative initiatives, resolutions, interventions as well as her actions outside the heart of Europe's decision-making. Kaili was, in fact, the first MEP to turn her attention towards cryptocurrencies, arguing at the time that Europe's regulatory framework should be flexible and generous to allow the technology to flourish. The Greek MEP also submitted the proposal for a resolution on blockchain technologies in 2018, which was approved by the European Parliament. At the time, she argued: ‘The applications of this technology are vast and could potentially help our fight against fraud and tax evasion’…

Eva Kaili always seemed to be more interested in facilitating, rather than regulating cryptocurrencies. This extended to her actions outside the European Parliament. Of course, engagement with cryptocurrencies requires very specialized knowledge which Eva Kaili herself did not seem to possess. A key role here seems to have been played by Dimitris Psarrakis, a close partner and friend of hers who collaborated with her for many years in the European Parliament .Today Psarrakis is referred to as a cryptocurrency lobbyist active in Brussels, according to reports he himself has reposted on social media, while he has also worked closely on the recent Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) Regulation.

To showcase Eva Kaili's relationship with cryptocurrencies when she was not in a prepared or choreographed framework, it is worth sharing a personal experience that took place in 2018, when we met in the context of the Delphi Economic Forum. I had then asked the MEP how we can popularize the technology and explain its potential to the average citizen and to small and medium-sized enterprises, which she argued could benefit most from decentralized funding. She replied to me as follows: “People don't necessarily need to understand what blockchain is. You see, cryptocurrencies are sort of like the weather. You can enjoy all their benefits, without necessarily knowing in detail the process that goes behind them.”

Aris Dimokidis: Kaili was often lately being congratulated by many on the Right. For her patriotic stance she was an ardent opponent of the Prespa agreement about the name of the (now) North Macedonia.

Eva Kaili (on the day after the big rally against the agreement): First of all, let me say that the government is hiding behind numbers in their assessment of the rally instead of seeing the meanings and messages that came from Athens and Thessaloniki with these gatherings of people, because identity issues have not been raised, issues about the FYROM Constitution, which are also the main problems, I only see a Greek retreat. I am also very afraid that we are ready to give in. We ourselves have surrendered the name without negotiation and the very important issues of identity that preoccupy the entire planet.

Aris Dimokidis: To those who accused her and called her far-right because she went to the rally, she would answer with the words of Andreas Papandreou: "We do not assign the name Macedonia or its derivatives".

She would be right if we didn't have the suspicion that she was just feeding lies to her audience in Thessaloniki and exploiting the pure patriots as well. For example, the fact that she would advertise Qatar which is the number one supporter of Turkey: How can you be so patriotic and at the same time so in favor of a great enemy of the country? Also how can you present yourself as a human rights person and a democrat, and at the same time support an anti-democratic system where human rights are brutally violated?

An old friend of hers told me that while she was in politics she only cared about creating ties with politicians who had something to offer her. Furthermore, she had a really hard time connecting emotionally and making long-term romantic relationships. The last one her friend can remember was before Kaili even got involved with politics, that is in the 1990’s.

Until she met Francesco Giorgi…

The newspaper Proto Thema wrote at the time: “Eva found her Adam in the European Parliament. The Italian technocrat and keen sailor stole the heart of the beautiful parliamentarian. Giorgi was an accredited assistant in the European Parliament serving as head of the Office of the President of the Human Rights and Foreign Affairs Committee.”

 He too was interested in human rights and in fact together with Panzeri had founded the NGO Fight Impunity which aimed to fight impunity internationally.

Journalist: [You are beautiful]. Undoubtedly that's what Francesco the Italian saw in you?

Eva Kaili: There are many nice Italian girls. I think what made us match was that we both love politics and can and do teach each other things. Even during the pandemic we managed  to find time to build a family for Ariadne. She is a very happy child, very sweet, she sends us kisses, so I think she is at the most beautiful period of her own life to discover something new every day. Every day is a different creature. We have managed through something so difficult to find our own joy.

Aris Dimokidis: Deep down, it is possible that in Francesco, Kaili has finally found someone like her father, a go-getter, highly connected, bold…

After meeting him she seems that she never wants to leave the European Parliament.

Journalist in 2022: Did you miss Thessaloniki, will you come to Thessaloniki or will you remain in Brussels?

Eva Kaili: Having been held in such esteem by my colleagues that so many of them, more than 90% supported me being vice president, I think that I now have an opportunity to influence the European Parliament's policies and it would be a shame to leave in order to move on to something in the Greek political scene where there are excellent people who would be able to stand out and have a chance.

Journalist: I got my answer, thank you.

Eva Kaili: I have an important mission at the moment!

Something started to seem off when she passionately defended Qatar a few days before the start of the World Cup.

Comedian Makis Papasimakopoulos would say at TV Kontra: "It's not the first time that Mrs. Kaili has been caught saying something that is not exactly true. She now said that anyone who speaks to the Qataris is accused of corruption. Someone please inform her that the only ones accused of corruption are the FIFA members who have been proven to have received money in order to give the World Cup to Qatar.”

Aris Dimokidis: Soon, in what looked like a self-fulfilling prophecy, FIFA members would not be the only ones accused of corruption.

But Kaili didn't seem to be afraid. She now felt invincible and as she was becoming more and more successful, with prizes, the Vice Presidency and so on, it was like she was saying a big “fuck you” to all of those who questioned her, who said she was clueless or had no political depth. Perhaps she felt she had finally gotten her revenge.

But the story was not going to end with the triumphant vindication she so longed for…

Greek newscaster Sia Kosioni: Rapid developments about the thriller surrounding Eva Kaili, the husband of which has been arrested. She is being interrogated at a police station in Brussels as suspect of corruption. The atmosphere in PASOK has been very heavy in the last few hours. The exit of Mrs. Kaili from PASOK has been decided by its leader, Mr. Nikos Androulakis.

Aris Dimokidis: Once she was asked about her favorite song

Eva Kaili: "My favorite song? [Rap political protest song about useless politicians] Kalimera Ellada. It says ‘Dear Ministers and Members of Parliament, come for a walk to Varvakeios market, go down to the port and talk to your workers. Take responsibility for once on your shoulders’. This was my favorite song and I have put lyrics from it in one of my speeches in Parliament!”

Aris Dimokidis: But in this particular case the responsibility was not taken by her, but by her partner. She may indeed be innocent, but the moral advantage seems to have been vanished, at least in the eyes of the majority of the Greeks. Her older moralistic statements sound ironic today…

Eva Kaili: I think that the issue of Ethics is very important in politics. [We who stayed at Pasok] have an ideology, we are ethical people.”

Aris Dimokidis: In a cartoon of his, Andreas Petroulakis would have her telling the Belgian investigator "I didn't do it for the money, my grandfather was a Qatari”. A popular joke was that Eva Kaili was the only Greek politician ever who took money from another country and didn't steal from the Greeks.

Meanwhile the TV channels started the exclusive broadcasts. Journalist Tasos Telloglou, who has known Eva Kaili for 20 years, said she jumped into the political arena with the speed of light and disappeared from it even faster, adding that many of her decisions and positions have the shadow of business interests - from her position to protect minors from pornography with the help of companies that have the right software, to the energy policies, the fintec industry, the so called GAFA. He notes that Mrs. Kaili did not only ally with Qatar, she also refrained from condemning the Russian regime. Many in Greece wonder whether she was in a Russian payroll.

15 years earlier she had a fight with the then professor Nikos Kotzias. After her arrest, Mr. Kotzias paraphrased an old saying: "Once a thief with heists and schemes, twice with blackmail and lies, third time finally caught with oil from abroad”

And Haris Kastanidis whom she had accused for “sexism” would say in the Greek Parliament -sending a clear message to Pasok leader Nikos Androulakis:

Haris Kastanidis: "There are two categories of political creatures. Those who live for their political party and those who live *from* their political party. The problem with some leaderships is that if they do not support at least they tolerate those who live off the political parties. And act surprised and saddened they kick them out only when they violate with dishonorable acts their oath…”

Aris Dimokidis: The fact that there was a rumor that she had hidden the money in the baby's crib, (the lawyer would say there wasn't even a crib) is the most PASOK thing that has happened in the last 33 years, wrote @tsagko.

33 years ago this had happened with Koskotas (the convicted businessman and central figure of a scandal involving Pasok and Andreas Papandreou):

George Koskotas speaking in court: “It was my son's birthday and they had bought him some toys. There were also two or three boxes of Pampers, we tried them to see where the money would fit better, and we put them in one of these boxes which Mr. Grylakis carried up to my bedroom.”

Aris Dimokidis: There were also conspiracy theories, that Kaili was setting up a fund with 35 million euros to buy-off Greek MPs on election night to form a government, with an organized plan to subvert the state, according to (alleged) Mossad transcripts.

There were few who supported Eva Kaili and the possibility of her innocence. Let's say I only remember the Greek newspaper Eleftheri Ora which had another conspiracy theory. “The Sacrificed Eva in the Jaws of Euromasons. Ursula, Bourla, and Schwab ended Kaili”, was the headline. Alson the Macedonian Party (first time I hear it, it has the slogan "the sword of Greece") published an article called 'Why we stand by Eva".

The former deputy minister of SYRIZA and ANEL Pavlos Haikalis, now an astrologer (!), analyzed the astrological chart of Eva Kaili foreseeing sufferings and limitations. Amazing prediction at a time when she was already in trouble and in prison. He also said she has been condemned by a natal eclipse. (Needless to say how unacceptable it is to indirectly excuse people in this way because they were led astray by the phenomena of the stars.)

Taking a look at Ms. Kaili's Instagram, I found a photo she had taken while on a speech by academic Eleni Glykatzi-Arveler. The photo shows Mrs. Arveler's phrase which is "if we suffer from something today it is not the economic crisis. It is because no one is what they do, but what they have acquired". Mrs. Kaili apparently identified herself - but maybe not for the right reasons.

What will the future bring for her?

A few years ago, she said at MAD: "In twenty years I imagine myself being close to politics trying to give to the people so I want to believe that I will succeed in having this role.

She might succeed indeed. There have been bigger upheavals.

However, many will try and are already trying to blame all her sins on the men in her life. But Mrs. Kaili is 44 years old and can in no way justify herself by throwing everyone else under the bus.

Even if others are to blame, she is undoubtedly to blame for not making sure that her lifestyle and even what happens in her own apartment, is absolutely legal and transparent.

“The apple falls under the apple tree”, was the title of the article by Mr. Tremopoulos.

But this is not obligatory, there are others who do the complete opposite, in contrast to their parents. But in order for a child to distance himself from the parent's bad habits, she must have seen them as bad, she must have seen that they have negative consequences.

If you see your father involved in bad things but he still continues to work normally and is considered a respectable member of the society it will affect you in completely different ways than if you see him suffering, going to prison, being punished, being ostracized, etc. However, if a parent does not suffer anything - and I'm not talking about the Kaili case as we don't know if she or her father is responsible for anything- if a parent comes out unscathed or even victorious it is not strange for the child to imitate them growing up.

For Mrs. Kaili's father who was by her side all the way in public life holding her hand I read at TVXS that he was forcibly taken to the police station with a suitcase full of euros in Brussels.

TVXS article: “He tried once more to help his daughter but this time he destroyed her. The relationship between him and his daughter is now of criminal interest, but it has always been of political interest, because both of them saw their participation in public life as a profession, that is, as a way of making a living. He is in the Local Government, she in the living rooms of the central political scene. He was invisible, she bathed in the glow.
Alexandros Kailis has every reason to be anxious about the outcome of the legal adventure in which his daughter was involved for the termination of her political career that has already occurred for the reputation of his family that was tarnished for the bad end of a march in which he accompanied her from the beginning holding her hand. But in the end holding the suitcase with the money too.

Eva Kaili: “Which song will represent my life?, I think Sinatras My Way… Yes, I did it My Way.”




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