Samaras Says SYRIZA Concocted Fake Novartis Scandal


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

ATHENS - Greek former premier Antonis Samaras said the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA concocted a fake scandal around the Swiss drug company Novartis falsely accusing him and other political rivals of taking bribes.

He said the alleged frame job was politically motivated to save former Premier Alexis Tsipras' falling standing with voters after he plummeted for constantly reneging on anti-austerity promises and giving in to the country's European creditors to get third bailout in the summer of 2015 for 86 billion euros ($94.97 billion.)

That came in his court testimony into the case although he and eight of nine others accused by Tsipras of orchestrating the “biggest scandal in Modern Greek history” were already cleared by prosecutors but as the probe goes on despite any evidence, and based on the testimony of four whistleblowers, three of whom still remain secret.

Talking to reporters after his appearance at the Supreme Court, he blamed Tsipras and former deputy justice minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos he said fabricated a fake scandal to get the party's rivals before SYRIZA was ousted by New Democracy in July 7 snap elections.

He said some prosecutors who were active in the cas were wrong to pursue it and that the whisteblowers whose identities have been protected should be named and brought to account, after they had said they only heard politicians had taken money from Novartis.

To back up his claims, Samaras submitted a 32-page memo to Supreme Court Deputy Prosecutor Evangelos Zacharis, who is investigating the judicial handling of the Novartis case. The next witness scheduled to testify is former PASOK finance minister Evangelos Venizelos who has also ripped the former government.

Zacharis is expected to question Ioannis Angelis, another Supreme Court prosecutor, who claims  the original Novartis investigation was mismanaged and undermined by the interventions of a politician he refused to name without explaining why he wouldn't.