Samaras says probe into ‘real, dark scandal’ of Novartis case begins now


Former conservative premier Antonis Samaras said Tuesday that a decision by the corruption prosecutor’s office to shelve the case against him concerning his alleged involvement in the Novartis case signals the beginning of an investigation into the “real, serious and dark scandal" surrounding the inquiry.

The head of the corruption prosecutor’s office, Eleni Touloupaki, ordered the case against Samaras to be dropped, as no evidence emerged to support the accusations.

“The ludicrous frame-up was officially shelved today, with a great delay,” he said in a statement.

Commenting on the same development during a regular press briefing on Tuesday, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said the filing of this part of the case shows that past statements by former SYRIZA officials who claimed that Novartis case was “the biggest scandal since the establishment of the Greek state” had fallen by the wayside.

“As far as the essence of the case is concerned, we await for the progress in the judicial investigation,” he added.

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.

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

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 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.