It reads like a spy novel or a film script. Police raids, a suitcase full of money found in a hotel room, more cash discovered at a politician’s home, a foreign power allegedly trying to buy influence, corruption charges against senior figures and pleas of innocence from those said to be involved.

However, this is not Hollywood but Brussels. And the unfolding story is sending shockwaves through the European Parliament and beyond.

Things are moving quickly but - as I write - police have already carried out some 20 raids, one at the Parliament’s offices and 19 in the homes of individuals, some in Greece and Italy. As well as all the cash, computers and mobile phones have been seized.

Read more: This week the SNP's very soul is at stake

The Brussels’ authorities have said roughly £130,000 in euros was found in an MEP’s flat and several hundreds of thousands of euros in a suitcase in a Brussels hotel room. And, if that wasn’t enough, more than £500,000 in euros was discovered at the home of one of the suspects.

Today, Belgian police released a photo, showing piles of notes in €200, €50, €20 and €10 denominations, adding up to a reported €1.5m, that’s £1.3m.

The foreign power caught up in the drama is Qatar, which, just so happens, is hosting the World Cup and is already embroiled in controversy, not least over the number of people, who have supposedly died working on building the raft of tournament stadiums.

The Gulf state forcefully denies claims that it has sought to target MEPs to buy influence, insisting: “Any association of the Qatari government with the reported claims is baseless and gravely misinformed.”

But, of course, this couldn’t have come at a worse time for Doha with the eyes of the world on Qatar.

The figure currently at the centre of the storm is Greek MEP Eva Kaili, who was arrested after a raid on her home where police, according to judicial sources, supposedly found £130,000 in euros hidden in “luxurious travel bags”.

To read the full story subscribe to our Unspun newsletter. Do that - and see our full list of bespoke newsletters - here.