Ex-Premier Samaras Says Novartis “Scandal” Frame Job

Former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Stelios Misinas)

ATHENS – As the alleged scandal in which the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA claimed tied 10 rival politicians to the Swiss drug company Novartis has unraveled,  one of the targets – former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras – said the “real, serious and dark scandal” will emerge.

That appeared to be a reference to former Premier Alexis Tsipras, who made the accusations without a shred of evidence and supported only by the testimony of four whistleblowers, three who remain secret, manufacturing bribery charges to get at his rivals and return to power.

Tsipras and his party were bounced from office in July 7 snap elections by Samaras’ fellow New Democracy colleague, now Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and has eight of the other nine targets of the Novartis probe were cleared – but as it continues without any evidence yet.

Samaras said the decision by the anti-corruption Chief Prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki to drop the case against him proved it was a set-up that failed. “The ludicrous frame-up was officially shelved today, with a great delay,” he said in a statement, according to Kathimerini.

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said it also showed that Tsipras’ claims that the Novartis case was “the biggest scandal since the establishment of the Greek state” had been disproved and utterly discredited.

“As far as the essence of the case is concerned, we await for the progress in the judicial investigation,” he added.

The case still includes the name of former health minister Andreas Loverdos, formerly of the now-defunct PASOK Socialists and now with the center-left Movement for Change (KINAL) although though no evidence has emerged against him either and he said he was being besmirched for political reasons.

The Novartis investigation concerns allegations Novartis – which denied it – bribed Greek doctors and prominent public officials to gain a bigger share of the Greek pharmaceutical market to sell drugs at inflated prices.