Novartis probe witness says bribery charges are ‘politically motivated’

Novartis probe witness says bribery charges are ‘politically motivated’

A former protected witness in an alleged bribery scandal involving Novartis told Skai TV on Wednesday night that the charges of accepting bribes that have now been brought against him are politically motivated.

Academic and former Health Ministry advisor Nikos Maniadakis, until recently a protected witness, said that he was pressured by judicial authorities to reveal whether prominent Greek politicians had received money from the Swiss drugmaker, adding that he believed his involvement was “politically motivated.”

He said he was questioned about former conservative prime minister Antonis Samaras, and former ministers of finance Yannis Stournaras and health Adonis Georgiadis. The latter was one of a series of health ministers that had called on him to offer his expert advice in meetings with foreign bailout inspectors, Maniadakis said, adding that he had never met Samaras and that Stournaras had been his professor at university.

He said that Panagiotis Kouroublis, a former health minister under the current leftist-led government, had also called on his help, though Kouroublis denies this. 

In the same interview with Skai, Maniadakis refuted claims by the two other protected witnesses that he had accepted 120,000 euros from Novartis as payment for influencing the government’s health policies. 

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