NEWS

Report pours more oil onto Novartis fire

TAGS: Politics

The government is expected to come under fresh opposition fire over its position toward claims that 10 prominent politicians were bribed by Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis following the revelation on Monday of allegations that ruling SYRIZA’s former health minister was involved in price fixing.

The report in Fileleftheros newspaper was based on the testimony to former corruption prosecutor Eleni Raikou of an unnamed witness claiming that Shipping Minister Panayiotis Kouroublis allowed certain pharmaceutical companies to overcharge for some 200 medicines in 2016, costing the state an estimated 40 million euros and Greek citizens another 100 million euros.

Kouroublis on Monday dismissed the claims as unfounded, pointing out that he served as health minister until the autumn of 2015.

However, the allegations are expected to stoke tension with opposition parties that object to a probe being carried out into the bribery claims on the basis of testimony from three anonymous witnesses alone.

In a related development, sources indicated that during a meeting with New Democracy chief Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday, US Ambassador in Athens Geoffrey Pyatt indicated that reports according to which Greek politicians were named by the FBI in connection with the Novartis case were false.

The prime minister’s office later issued a statement saying that Pyatt never made such comments.

Online