Greek Prosecutors Fall Out Over Novartis Alleged Scandal

FILE - Greece’s lawmakers voted and approved a probe into an alleged scandal in which prosecutors allege that 10 politicians took bribes from the pharmaceutical company Novartis. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Yorgos Kontarinis)

ATHENS – Greece’s former top corruption prosecutor Eleni Raikou is suing the colleague who replaced her – Eleni Touloupaki – for allegedly violating the secrecy of testimony and slandering Raikou and her husband as part of the alleged scandal surrounding the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, that has gone nowhere.

Raikou’s suit cites reports naming her physician husband, Lazaros Karnesis, as one of the people on the list of medical professionals being investigated in the affair in which the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition charged that political rivals and doctors were being bribed by Novartis.

The former head of Novartis Greece and two doctors charged in the case were acquitted by a court. The case is based on the secret testimony of three unnamed whistleblower witnesses who haven’t produced a shred of evidence beyond their allegations, enough for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to declare all those charged as guilty and calling the affair the biggest scandal in the history of the country. No one has been convicted and the list of the accused includes two former Prime Ministers, a former finance minister and the head of the Bank of Greece, Yannis Stournaras, who has been a thorn in the side of SYRIZA in disputing rosy government economic claims.

As Touloupaki is overseeing the probe, Raikou holds her responsible for the leak of information relating to her husband, said Kathimerini.

Karnesis has publicly responded to the reports linking him to the probe, denying any connection with the Swiss pharmaceutical company beyond the participation in a group study in 2009 for which he received 1,000 euros ($1143). Novartis dominates the pharmaceutical market in Greece and said it has no reason to bribe anyone. Karnesis also is suing Touloupaki and her associates.

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