Novartis investigation dogged by disputes

Novartis investigation dogged by disputes

A year since a prosecutors’ investigation into an alleged bribery scandal involving the Swiss drugs manufacturer Novartis was sent to Parliament, the probe is at a crucial juncture, with judicial officials expected to bring charges against Greek politicians in due course even though evidence of illicit payments has yet to be produced. 

The resignation of corruption prosecutors probing the Novartis affair has underscored the sensitivity of the case and the contradictory opinions of officials involved in the investigation. 

The country’s chief corruption prosecutor Eleni Raikou quit in May 2017, citing threats and pressure from state officials.

Then last week, Ioannis Angelis, a deputy corruption prosecutor, quit in the wake of media claims that he and a group of other prosecutors were offered information about a former Greek minister during a meeting with American judicial officials in Vienna in November. In a report to Supreme Court prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou, Angelis claimed that his colleagues mishandled the probe.

Judicial officials told Kathimerini that the discontent goes far deeper, with the above-mentioned resignations just the “tip of the iceberg.” 

Despite the upsets, the investigation is moving ahead, Kathimerini understands. And although the probe has not uncovered evidence of illicit payments made by the Swiss firm into the accounts of the 10 Greek politicians implicated in the affair, that does not mean that charges will not be brought against some of them, senior judicial sources said. Bank deposits and exchanged messages can serve as evidence in certain cases, Kathimerini understands. 

It is thought that any charges brought in the initial phase will focus on the 2010-12 period, or possibly on the 2009-13 period, sources said.

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