Conservative New Democracy MP Marios Salmas, one of 10 Greek state officials implicated in the original Novartis investigation, over the weekend denied claims that he sought to intervene in a subsequent judicial probe into the affair.
Haralambos Sevastidis, a senior first instance court judge and the press representative of Greece’s union of prosecutors, lodged a complaint on Saturday with the Supreme Court over an alleged intervention by Salmas who, he claimed, urged him to speed up a judicial investigation into the affair.
The union issued a statement condemning the alleged interference, which it said occurred in a phone call on Friday. “It should be absolutely clear that interventions in [the work of] judicial officials are not only illegal but also ineffective,” it said.
In response, Salmas spoke of a “baffling misunderstanding.” He said he phoned Sevastidis for an update on the progress of a legal suit he lodged in February against Nikos Maniadakis, a former Health Ministry adviser and former protected witnesses in the Novartis probe whose testimony implicated the 10 officials.
According to Salmas, Sevastidis spoke to him “scornfully” and then hung up.
A parliamentary committee tasked with probing possible political influence in the Novartis probe under the previous leftist government has yet to convene amid obstructive tactics by SYRIZA MPs who have been barred from the panel due to their status as witnesses in the investigation.