PM to recommend inquiry committee for Novartis case

PM to recommend inquiry committee for Novartis case

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will be recommending the formation of a parliamentary committee to conduct a preliminary inquiry into claims made in a prosecutors' report that several high-ranking politicians were bribed by Swiss drugs firm Novartis.

“The committee's only task will be to explore the charges and contribute to the discovery of the truth,” government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said on Friday.

“The presumption of innocence is, of course, inviolable on the part of the government, though this does not mean that we do not have a moral, political and legal obligation to do all we can in order to shed light on the case,” Tzanakopoulos said.

Tzanakopoulos's announcement came shortly after former justice minister Haralambos Athanasiou questioned the validity of the testimony on which the report relies, claiming that two former prime ministers and several ex-ministers received millions of euros in kickbacks to fix drug prices and improve Novartis's market access, arguing that they had not been signed off on by a senior prosecutor.

Speaking on Skai TV, the New Democracy lawmaker said that the entire case has all the hallmarks of “manipulation” and claimed to have “a good idea” of which minister encouraged the prosecutor's claims.

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