Gov’t handling of Novartis case ‘attack on the rule of law,’ ex-PM says


Former conservative prime minister Antonis Samaras has accused Greece’s leftist-led government of using the Novartis bribery case to smear the reputations of its political rivals in a campaign that amounts to an “unprecedented attack on independent institutions and the rule of law.”

“The prime minister has sought to turn a case involving the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis from an international health sector scandal into an opportunity for political mudslinging,” Samaras said in an op-ed in the Financial Times published on Thursday.

Samaras is among 10 high-profile politicians named by prosecutors in an investigation into alleged bribes paid by Novartis to secure preferential treatment in Greece.

“We have been singled out on the basis of vague and groundless allegations made in the testimonies of three ‘protected’ witnesses,” he said.

“The aim of Mr Tsipras and his colleagues is to discredit their rivals. They obviously do not care that the ultimate victim of their actions will be Greek democracy,” Samaras said.

“The Novartis case is the final chapter in the story of a failing government of demagogues who have tried to take advantage of democratic rule in order to install a Latin-American type illiberal leftist regime in Greece,” he said.