NEWS

Ex-prosecutor says former minister meddled in Novartis case

ex-prosecutor-says-former-minister-meddled-in-novartis-case

Greece’s former chief prosecutor for corruption, Eleni Raikou, presented evidence on Monday indicating that ex-alternate minister for justice Dimitris Papangelopoulos had used his influence, “in the manner of a pimp,” to intervene in her work on a number of cases, including the Novartis bribery scandal.

Sources said that Raikou, who resigned in 2017 claiming she had come under pressure from the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks administration over the Novartis affair, presented her evidence to a Supreme Court deputy prosecutor investigating judicial officials’ handling of allegations that 10 high-ranking politicians and former officials had taken kickbacks from the Swiss pharmaceutical firm in the 2008-14 period. The probe was launched earlier this month following claims from those implicated – though not incriminated – that they were victims of a political setup.

“Exploiting his political power, in the manner of a pimp, he would dictate how certain important cases needed to be handled, demanding in some cases that criminal charges be brought at once,” Raikou reportedly told Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Lambros Sofoulakis yesterday in reference to Papangelopoulos.

On the issue of the Novartis case, Raikou said that investigations carried out under her purview had turned up a bank account in the firm’s name that showed payments to doctors and other individuals, though none to politicians.

Raikou’s testimony is expected to be sent to Parliament, which is conducting its own investigation into Papangelopoulos’ alleged involvement in what is believed to have been a botched attempt by the previous administration to malign its political rivals.

The case files for the majority of the 10 politicians who were implicated have already been consigned to the archive for a lack of evidence.

Sofoulakis on Monday also heard the testimony of Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras, who is among the officials against whom charges have been archived. The former finance minister submitted two detailed memos to support his claims that he had been a victim of a political frame-up.