Novartis witness status challenged in Supreme Court

Novartis witness status challenged in Supreme Court

A delegation from Parliament’s preliminary inquiry committee into the handling of the Novartis bribery case by the previous administration petitioned the Supreme Court on Thursday to look into the status of its three key whistleblowers.

The petition also includes testimony of witnesses claiming to know the true identity of protected witnesses because they say they saw who they were during the period of their examination by corruption prosecutors. 

The delegation has also asked the Supreme Court to consider whether indications that the three protected whistleblowers had been involved in accepting bribes from the Swiss pharmaceutical giant provide sufficient grounds to lift their protected status so that they may be identified, located and compelled to testify to the parliamentary committee.

The parliamentary committee is investigating claims that the allegations involving 10 prominent politicians may have been politically motivated, and particularly the role of former justice minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos. The cases against seven of the politicians have already been consigned to the archive for lack of sufficient evidence.

Thursday’s delegation to the Supreme Court comprised members of all the parties in Parliament except for SYRIZA, which led the previous administration.

On Tuesday, bench warrants had to be issued for two of the protected witnesses, known by the pseudonyms Maximos Sarafis and Ekaterini Kelesi, after they failed to present themselves for scheduled hearings at Athens Police Headquarters and refused to be questioned by the parliamentary committee.

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