NEWS

Outlook unclear for Novartis probe

TAGS: Politics, Justice

The outlook for Parliament’s committee that was set up to investigate 10 Greek politicians alleged to be linked to a bribery scandal involving the Swiss drugs manufacturer Novartis appears unclear as opposition MPs have boycotted the panel and politicians have refused to appear before it until witnesses are called. 

The leftist-led government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who pledged to crack down on corruption while in opposition, appeared to have high hopes for the probe which has targeted several prominent members of rival parties New Democracy and PASOK. 

However, judicial officials have yet to produce any concrete evidence proving that the 10 politicians named in their report were involved in bribe taking or even had knowledge of it. 

The prosecutors’ report was largely based on the testimonies of three key witnesses whose identities remain protected. 

Key politicians named in the report – including former conservative premier Antonis Samaras and European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, who is a former health minister – have refused to face the committee next week, accusing the government of conspiring to discredit its rivals and calling for witnesses to testify first. 

Last week opposition MPs walked out of a session of the panel after coalition lawmakers called for a debate on whether the committee is competent to continue the investigation or whether it should be returned to prosecutors.

Online