NEWS

‘Rasputin’ to come under scrutiny

ARISTOTELIA PELONI, STAVROS PAPANTONIOU

TAGS: Justice, Corruption

After Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ return from New York on September 29, a plenary session of Parliament is set to discuss a proposal by ruling New Democracy for the creation of a special investigative committee to probe “the clear signs” that former alternate justice minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos intervened in the alleged bribery scandal involving Swiss drugs manufacturer Novartis to incriminate political rivals of the former leftist SYRIZA government.

In a written statement, ND’s party secretary Stavros Kalafatis said that “a simple reading of the evidence in the case file points to clear signs of groundless interventions in the course of justice by Dimitris Papangelopoulos.”

In view of this, he said, ND’s parliamentary group proposed the creation of a special committee to probe his actions during his stint as alternate justice minister.

“We will ask for the procedures to be carried out as quickly as possible,” Kalafatis said. He added that ND is not seeking a similar probe into former leftist prime minister Alexis Tsipras, who had been been accused of having knowledge of Papangelopoulos’ actions.

“This is a conscious choice by a responsible party that cannot file charges against former prime ministers unless there is irrefutable evidence,” he said.

The case file which was opened on Wednesday in Parliament included the testimony of Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Ioannis Angelis, who has claimed that an unnamed politician dubbed “Rasputin” played a pivotal role in influencing the course of the investigation into the alleged Novartis scandal.

He did not identify Rasputin, who has, however, been named as Papangelopoulos by others including former conservative premier Antonis Samaras – one of the 10 politicians implicated in the original Novartis probe. 

He stated that prosecutor Eleni Touloupakis was under Rasputin’s influence and that “she wanted a fast-track prosecution without observing procedural rules” in the Novartis case and that leading conservative politicians would be prosecuted.

SYRIZA spokesperson Olga Gerovasili claimed the decision not to go after Tsipras is basically an admission by Mitsotakis that “there is no basis to the accusations he has hurled against Tsipras and the SYRIZA government over the past 2.5 years.”

What Mitsotakis claimed to be a conspiracy was nothing but an act, she said, adding that it contradicted former PM Samaras, who also claimed that Tsipras was behind the allegations that politicians received bribes from Novartis.

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