The head of the Greek prime minister’s legal department, Vassiliki Thanou, has come under fire from the country’s union of judges and prosecutors (EDE), who described her recent intervention in the Novartis bribery case as an “institutional faux pas.”
In comments made earlier this week, Thanou, a former president of the Supreme Court, questioned the legality of convening the appeals court plenary so that the Novartis case file can be forwarded to an investigative magistrate. “It is not our business to throw politicians a lifeline,” Nikolaos Salatas, the general secretary of EDE, told Thema 104.6 radio, while accusing Thanou of double standards over the case, in light of her push to raise judges’ retirement age while she was still Supreme Court chief.
Speaking to Real FM, EDE representative Haralambos Sevastidis described the Novartis case, in which 10 Greek politicians are being investigated over allegations of bribery in connection with the Swiss drugmaker, as an “arena of political confrontation.”
“[The case] is being exploited for political reasons and at the same time there is interference from judicial officials to back the claims of this or the other side.” Thanou’s comments, Sevastidis added, amounted to an “institutional faux pas.” “Thanou, essentially representing the executive power, has no right to interfere with an issue over which the appeals court plenary has exclusive competence,” he said.
Meanwhile, tensions remained high between the government and the opposition over the issue Friday. Government sources attacked Adonis Georgiadis after the New Democracy vice president accused the PM of being “corrupt to the bone.” “Perhaps he should try a tranquilizer. Novartis must also have one, surely.”