The government official that supposedly influenced the investigation of alleged bribes paid by Novartis to politicians is Alternate Justice Minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos, former conservative premier Antonis Samaras claimed in an interview with the Parapolitika newspaper that was published on Saturday.
Samaras is one of 10 Greek politicians implicated in the alleged bribery scandal by a judicial probe which has, however, failed to produce any concrete evidence of payments to politicians’ accounts or those of their relatives.
Deputy Supreme Court Prosecutor Ioannis Angelis, who has questioned the handling of the investigation into the Novartis probe, had referred to a politician that allegedly sought to influence the course of the probe, naming him only as “Rasputin.”
That person is Papangelopoulos, Samaras claimed, noting that the outgoing minister is among the people he sued in connection with the allegations leveled against him.
“The so-called ‘Rasputin is the alternate justice minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos,” Samaras said. “I sued him from the beginning, I named him,” he said, adding that former top corruption prosecutor Eleni Raikou had also pointed to the same government official before she resigned in 2017.
Papangelopoulos denied the accusations, remarking that, “there is no Rasputin in the justice sector today. In the past, I don’t know, maybe there was” and underlined the importance of a “calm political climate” ahead of snap elections on July 7.
Last week Angelis ordered the reopening of three criminal lawsuits filed by prominent politicians implicated in the alleged bribery: Samaras, former socialist finance minister Evangelos Venizelos and European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos.