In blow to gov’t, Novartis probe finds no sign of graft


An internal investigation by Swiss drugmaker Novartis has failed to find any evidence of illicit payments made by the company into the accounts of Greek state officials, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. 

The probe found that the firm did not receive preferential pricing from the Greek state and has so far been unable to trace any “inappropriate payments” to government officials, Bloomberg cited a company spokesman as saying.

The development was widely seen as an additional blow to the leftist government, which had hoped that a judicial probe into an alleged bribery scandal involving the manufacturer would undermine conservative New Democracy ahead of elections this year.

That probe has also failed to uncover any evidence of Greek politicians accepting bribes from Novartis.

A number of conservative officials, including two former prime ministers, are implicated in the case and ND has denounced the Greek probe as politically motivated.

According to sources, the news regarding the internal probe makes it less likely that Greek judicial officials will bring charges against any of the 10 politicians named in the investigation.

Although no evidence has been found of Greek politicians receiving illicit payments, it had been expected that prosecutors would lodge charges against some of the 10 politicians on the basis of witness testimonies.

Commenting, ND remarked that the much-vaunted Novartis scandal, which Alternate Justice Minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos last year described as “the biggest scandal since the foundation of the Greek state,” was turning into “SYRIZA’s biggest ever fiasco.”