Charges Expected Against Greek Politicians in Novartis Case

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 – Despite having no evidence beyond the word of three secret whistleblowers, Greek prosecutors are reportedly set to charge 10 rival politicians of the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA with taking bribes from the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis.

The prosecutors insist that bribe-taking charges are supported by the testimonies of protected witnesses, one of whom was unmasked and stopped at the airport trying to go to Spain while the other two’s stories are said to keep changing, reported Kathimerini.

It remains unclear which of the 10 politicians originally implicated by prosecutors, including two former Premiers, Bank of Greece Gov. Yannis Stournaras, European Commission migration chief Dimitris Avramopoulos will be charged,  the paper said.

The alleged bribes relate to the period 2010-2012 and Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, in what his rivals said is trying to distract attention as he plummets in polls for reneging on anti-austerity promises, declared the accused guilty before any prosecution, claiming they’d created the biggest scandal in Greek history.

Before lodging the charges, prosecutors are expected to ask Parliament to lift the immunity of those suspects who are MPs and as some of the accused said they will sue, including Avramopoulos, who wants prosecutors to name the accusers whose identities are being protected by whistleblower laws.