Avramopoulos requests stripping Novartis witnesses of protected status

Avramopoulos requests stripping Novartis witnesses of protected status

European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos on Wednesday requested that a prosecutor in Athens strips two anonymous witnesses in the Novartis kickbacks probe of their protected status.

The request was lodged with Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Panagiotis Brakoumatsos, who took over as head of the corruption prosecution's office after his predecessor Yiannis Angelis resigned.

The ongoing probe, which is investigating the possible involvement of 10 prominent politicians in an alleged kickbacks scheme, was largely based on the testimonies provided by three witnesses whose names were gradually leaked to the Greek press.

On January 1, it was revealed that one of the witnesses, who has served as an advisor to several former health ministers, was removed from the protected witness list after judicial authorities charged him with passive bribery in connection to the case.

Avramopoulos also asks Brakoumatsos to follow through with a lawsuit he filed in February 2018 against two of the witnesses for perjury, libel and false accusation.

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