Former justice minister rejects intervention accusations in Novartis probe

Former justice minister rejects intervention accusations in Novartis probe

Former alternate minister for justice Dimitris Papangelopoulos vehemently denied accusations by a former chief prosecutor for corruption that he had used his influence to intervene in her work on a number of cases, including the alleged Novartis bribery scandal.

Eleni 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.

According to sources, she told Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Lambros Sofoulakis that the former minister “exploited his political power, in the manner of a pimp,” to “dictate how certain important cases needed to be handled” and “demanding in some cases that criminal charges be brought at once.”

“In her letter of resignation, Mrs Raikou didn't mention anything about me. On the contrary, she spoke about finding 28 million euros of 'dirty' money, possibly even [given] to politicians,” Papangelopoulos said in a statement on Tuesday.

“A year and a half later, she invented ‘Rasputin’ as a distraction. Another year went by, and she dared mention my name. Everything Mrs Raikou claims about a ‘Rasputin’ are lies,” he added, in reference to a nickname given by witnesses who have testified in the case to an unnamed politician who allegedly played a pivotal role in influencing the course of the investigation.

Raikou’s testimony was sent to Parliament, which is conducting its own investigation into Papangelopoulos’ alleged involvement.

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