NEWS

Findings in defense deal probe may lead to new charges

TAGS: Crime, Politics, Justice

Greek prosecutors are expected to bring additional criminal charges against unidentified individuals in connection with an ongoing investigation into defense deals signed when socialist veteran Yiannos Papantoniou was defense minister between 2001 and 2003, possibly as early as this week, Kathimerini understands.

According to sources, last month Swiss judicial authorities sent Greek corruption prosecutors information regarding an insurance contract and two bank accounts alleged to be linked to Papantoniou. It remained unclear whether the information dispatched by Swiss prosecutors allegedly incriminates the former minister in suspicious transactions or whether it embroils other ministry or military officials.

Iliana Zamanika, the corruption prosecutor who has been handling an ongoing probe into defense deals signed by Papantoniou, is now expected to review her files and to issue fresh charges over the coming days.

According to a press report that led to the resignation last week of Greece’s top prosecutor, Eleni Raikou, Zamanika wrote to her superiors alleging that Raikou covered up aspects of an investigation into Papantoniou.

It was Raikou’s investigation into Papantoniou, however, that led to Parliament voting last week to set up an investigative committee to probe defense deals under the socialist former minister.

Raikou had also been leading an investigation into alleged corruption by Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, and cited pressure and threats from “the health sector” but also from “unofficial centers of power” as reasons for her resignation.

Supreme Court chief Vassiliki Thanou has launched an investigation into the claims by and against Raikou.

Meanwhile, sources have indicated that Raikou’s investigation into alleged corruption by Novartis revealed that the company had been bribing more than 4,800 doctors in Greece.

In her resignation letter last week, Raikou indicated that her investigation traced at least 28 million euros in payments from a Novartis account in Switzerland to accounts of Greek doctors and other individuals, though she did not reveal explicit links to politicians.

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