Ex-minister calls Novartis probe ‘scourge for country’

Ex-minister calls Novartis probe ‘scourge for country’

Defending himself before a corruption prosecutor Thursday as a suspect in the alleged bribery scandal involving Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis, former Socialist health minister Andreas Loverdos described the case as a “political frame-up” and “a scourge for the country.”

In a written statement, Loverdos said he was submitting to judicial officials the seven legal suits he has lodged against witnesses in the probe as well as his speeches in Parliament on the subject.

“Those who took part in this abhorrent fabrication, which, as I declared from the very beginning, is a scourge for our country, will answer for and pay for their actions,” he wrote.

Loverdos is being probed in connection with alleged bribes during his term as health minister from April 2011 to May 2012.

Of 10 Greek politicians originally implicated in the alleged scandal, only Loverdos has been charged.

The probe has failed to turn up evidence of illicit payments to politicians.

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