Case against former conservative PM in Novartis inquiry shelved

Case against former conservative PM in Novartis inquiry shelved

Greek corruption prosecutors on Tuesday shelved a part of the investigation into the alleged bribery case involving Swiss drugmaker Novartis which concerns former conservative prime minister Antonis Samaras, after no evidence was found to support the accusations.

In 2018, Samaras sued the prosecutors investigating the case, as well as the secret witnesses who testified against them, and even against Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Alternate Justice Minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos, arguing that the probe is politically motivated.

The decision was taken by the head of the corruption prosecutor’s office, Eleni Touloupaki, while the case still remains open for three other politicians – former finance minister and current Bank of Greece Governor Yiannis Stournaras, Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis and European Union Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

Prosecutors have already cleared other politicians implicated in the case – former ministers Evangelos Venizelos, Andreas Lykouretzos and Georgios Koutroumanis, former premier Panagiotis Pikrammenos and former minister Marios Salmas.

The case still includes the name of KINAL lawmaker and former health minister Andreas Loverdos, though no evidence has emerged pointing to bribery.

The Novartis investigation concerns allegations that the drugmaker bribed Greek doctors and prominent public officials to increase its access to the Greek market and sell its products at inflated prices. It is largely based on the testimonies of the three key witnesses.

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