NEWS

Former minister implicated in Novartis case slams ‘political persecution’

IOANNA MANDROU

TAGS: Justice

Former alternate justice minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos hit back on Thursday over allegations that he attempted to influence an ongoing inquiry into the alleged bribery scandal involving Swiss drugs manufacturer Novartis to incriminate political rivals.

The former minister said there is no evidence to prosecute him. “This is an unprecedented attempt at a vengeful political persecution. The absence of any proof in the case file against me and against [former PM] Alexis Tsipras make this sordidness ridiculous,” he said in a statement.

Papangelopoulos said the government is trying to “hide the truth” and “distract the Greek public in order to conceal the serious responsibilities not just in the Novartis scandal, but also in its investigation.”

The case file was opened in Parliament on Wednesday and 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.

Ruling New Democracy is proposing the creation of a special investigative committee to probe “the clear signs” that Papangelopoulos intervened.

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