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Another Witness Denies Being Novartis Case Whistleblower

November 28, 2019

ATHENS – A parliamentary committee looking into a prosecutor’s probe of whether 10 Greek politicians took bribes from the Swiss pharmaceutical company heard from a witness who denied being one of the three whistleblowers who made the allegations.

The fact-finding committee was established by the Parliament controlled by the ruling New Democracy to investigate possible wrongdoing by former alternate justice minister Dimitris Papaggelopoulos and, possibly, others.

The accused are political rivals of the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA and, have been cleared already with no evidence produced despite former premier Alexis Tsipras’ claim they had perpetrated the “biggest scandal since the creation of the modern Greek state.”

After saying he wasn’t one of the whistleblowers, former Novartis Greece communications and advertising director Filistor Destebasidis refused to testify, citing what he said was a right against self-incrimination, the business newspaper Naftemporiki said.

Despite his position overseeing communications, he said he didn’t know which mass media hosted Novartis ads, nor whom was on the company’s payroll.

Nine of those accused – without a shred of evidence being offered – have already been cleared in a case the former Novartis Greece communications and advertising director Filistor Destebasidis said he wouldn’t testify, citing a right against self-incrimination.

He also said despite his position with Swiss pharmaceutical giant’s subsidiary heading heading and communications he did not know which mass media hosted Novartis ads, nor whom was on the company’s payroll, the business newspaper Naftermporiki said.

He also claimed that he has never been summoned to testify regarding the investigation by anti-corruption chief prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki who keeps pressing a case that has unraveled as she insisted there is wrongdoing somewhere.

Following a vote by the committee’s members, Destebasidis’ six-hour testimony was forwarded to the Athens First Instance Prosecutor’s office accompanied by an official query whether his refusal to testify was perjury.

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