ATHENS - Former Greek health minister Adonis Georgiadis, one of 10 rival politicians the government said took bribes from the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis said he will sue the business for remaining silent over the charges.
A high-ranking member of the New Democracy major opposition he said the charges were an attempt by Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA and his cohorts to slander rivals in a bid to regain favor with voters after reneging on anti-austerity promises.
The case has been built on the testimony of three secret whistleblowers who said they heard that the company had bribed politicians and officials, but only rivals of SYRIZA and its junior coalition partner, the pro-austerity, marginal, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) of Defense Minister Panos Kammenos but not a shred of evidence has been produced.
Georgiadis is demanding two million euros nds two million euros ($2.26 million) in damages from the Swiss multinational, the business newspaper Naftemporiki said.
"I will defend, to the very end, my honor and reputation," he said, while telling a television current affairs program that Novartis remains silent because "it's found an understanding with the (current Greek) government... During my tenure (as health minister), it (Novartis Greece) posted damages, returning to profits during the Xanthos-Polakis era," he said, referring to the current minister and alternate health ministers in the Cabinet.
Georgiadis promised to donate whatever damages, if he is vindicated, to charity.