ATHENS – In a comment on the latest developments in the ongoing Novartis investigation in Greece, European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos referred to a “dark case” that undermines the institutions and the dignity of political figures, while speaking during a press conference on Friday.
Avramopoulos, who has also been named as a person of interest in the investigation, expressed his annoyance and regret that “a disgusting case with the characteristics of a frame is dominating public dialogue in Greece”.
“This case does not touch me in any way, it is a pathetic and vile case of slander using false witnesses wearing hoods. The criminal activity will be revealed when an investigation is carried out, as independent justice is obliged to do in a democratic country. No hood-wearer, false witness or frame can cast even the slightest suspicion of a shadow on my person…it is a conspiracy. The unbelievable lies do not bear the hallmarks of witness testimony, their aim is directed perjury. In addition to my suit against the fake witnesses, I will submit a request to the Supreme Court to withdraw the protected status of the witnesses so that the prestige of the Justice can be protected from circles that operate outside the institutions. The testimonies that sully political reputations are based on speculation and rumour and are not accompanied by any evidence. They are false,” said Avramopoulos.
Prosecutors defend investigation into Novartis bribery case
Prosecutors involved in the investigation into the alleged bribery of top politicians and doctors by the Swiss drugmaker Novartis pushed back against news reports questioning the witness protection program and the alleged talks between government officials and prosecutors, saying they have followed the law.
“We have adhered to the letter of the law,” the head of the corruption prosecutor’s office Eleni Touloupaki and prosecutors Christos Ntzouras and Stelios Manolis, who are handling the case, said in a joint statement.
“We never participated in a joint meeting with the government spokesman or any other government official on the Novartis case. The witnesses were placed into the protection status, adhering strictly to the letter of the law. The part of the case file that involves politicians was submitted to the Supreme Court prosecutor’s office, as we are obliged to do by the Constitution,” they added.
The prosecutors also said the Greek investigation into Novartis is taking place in parallel and not jointly with that of other states.