Former witness ‘was pressured’ to blame politicians

Former witness ‘was pressured’ to blame politicians

In testimony before a Supreme Court prosecutor on Thursday, a former protected witness in the Novartis investigation claimed that he came under pressure from Greek corruption prosecutors to testify against politicians in the absence of any incriminating evidence.

Nikos Maniadakis, a former Health Ministry adviser, was one of three protected witnesses in the original Novartis probe on whose testimony prosecutors brought charges against politicians.

However, Maniadakis claimed in testimony to prosecutor Evangelos Zacharis, “I didn’t see, participate in or know of any illegal acts by politicians.”

Maniadakis said he was pressed by corruption prosecutors – though he did not specify who – to implicate former conservative premier Antonis Samaras, former health minister Adonis Georgiadis and Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras.

Earlier this year Maniadakis was charged with accepting bribes from the Swiss drugs firm as payment for influencing Greek health policies.

Commenting, Maniadakis’ lawyer, Theodoros Mandas, described the fact that his client had gone from being a protected witness in the probe to a defendant as “erroneous and incomprehensible.”

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