Secrets Surround Alleged Novartis Scandal, No Names Named

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 – Chaos around the alleged scandal involving charges the Swiss drug company Novartis bribed political rivals of the Radical Left SYRIZA has intensified over a former high court official saying it was a frame job and as a prosecutor brought charges anyway.

Former Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Ioannis Angelis accused his judicial colleagues of mismanaging the Novartis probe and said a politician he identified only as “Rasputin” – without explaining why he wouldn’t provide the name, is set to questioned in the case.

That came as anti-corruption prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki – who is feuding with Angelis and charged him with stealing one of her computer memory sticks – said she will charge four people she wouldn’t name either.

All this is based on the word of three whistleblowers – two whose names are still being kept secret and the other identified only when he was stopped trying to get to Spain – who said they overheard something about 10 rivals of SYRIZA being bribed, including two former Prime Ministers, a former finance minister and Bank of Greece Gov. Yanis Stournaras.

Nine have been cleared so far and the remaining one being questioned, former health minister Andreas Loverdos, said he’s being smeared and set up, claimed innocence and said he was the victim of a despicable political witch hunt.

Angelis will testify before the high court’s deputy prosecutor,  Dimitris Dasoulas, over his allegations of political interference in the case. Dasoulas will also question Touloupaki, who keeps pressing the case despite not a shred of evidence being produced so far.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the scandal was the biggest since the creation of the modern Greek state, but it’s unproven so far, and Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis said openly the only chance SYRIZA has of returning to power is to start putting political rivals in jail.

Justice Minister Michalis Kalogirou has also called for a disciplinary investigation, by the Council of State, into Angelis’ claims while New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said it was “clear” the government influenced the course of the Novartis probe and that Angelis’ accusations should be probed by the next government if the Conservatives win.