Few findings in Novartis report


The results of an expert investigation into an alleged bribery scandal involving Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis were forwarded to corruption prosecutors Thursday, as expected, without any evidence of Greek politicians receiving illicit payments from the firm.

The report was forwarded to judicial officials by General Inspector of Public Administration Maria Papaspyrou, who oversaw the team probing the case.

Although the experts’ mandate was not to focus specifically on the possible involvement of any of the 10 Greek politicians whose names have been implicated in the alleged scandal, the fact that they found no signs of suspicious payments in their accounts or those of their families is likely to be a disappointment to the leftist government, which had hoped to exploit the probe’s findings for political gain in the countdown to elections.

The investigation focused primarily on members of ministerial committees that had been responsible for pricing Novartis medicines, with details of several instances of overpricing, Kathimerini understands. However, again, no former health or development ministers have been implicated.

Overall, the 3,000-page report offers a detailed analysis of the overpricing of medicines on the Greek market between 2006 and 2014, with a particular focus on the period from 2010 to 2014, at the peak of the country’s financial crisis.

Although the report does not contain references to politicians, judicial sources deem that its findings will contribute to the final assessment of Greek corruption prosecutors who are expected to decide in the coming weeks on what charges to bring in connection with the case.

The same sources said it is likely that charges will be brought against some of the 10 politicians named in connection with the alleged scandal on the basis of witness testimonies. The charges leveled are expected to be accepting bribes rather than money laundering.

Before lodging the charges, prosecutors are expected to ask Parliament to lift the immunity of those suspects who are MPs.