In the latest twist of an ongoing investigation into the judicial handling of the Novartis bribery probe, the head of the Athens Prosecutor’s Office has ordered the criminal prosecution of the country’s top corruption prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki for a series of offenses, including abuse of power.
Touloupaki will also face charges of dereliction of duty, making false statements and breach of personal data in connection to her investigation into the case, in which 10 politicians were initially incriminated although no corroborating evidence was ultimately produced beyond the claims of witnesses.
The order came from the deputy prosecutor of the Supreme Court, Evangelos Zaharis who investigated Touloupaki’s handling of the Novartis probe. In the wake of the move, Touloupaki is expected to be replaced by another official to be selected by the top court’s Supreme Judicial Council.
Thursday's development was widely seen as bolstering separate reports by ruling New Democracy and center-left Movement for Change (KINAL), which both call for the indictment of former leftist alternate justice minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos, who is being probed by a parliamentary committee for allegedly seeking to influence the course of the Novartis investigation as well as other judicial probes.
Papangelopoulos faces a total of eight charges including accepting bribes, attempted extortion, forming a criminal organization and morally instigating abuse of power. The latter charge relates to his alleged influence over Touloupaki during his stint as minister under the previous leftist government.
Parliament’s plenary is expected to discuss the case for indicting Papangelopoulos next Wednesday ahead of a secret vote that evening. MPs will be called upon to decide whether the former minister should face the eight charges, which will be listed on the ballot paper.