ATHENS – A former prosecutor for Greece’s high court charged that the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA smeared 10 political rivals by accusing them of taking bribes from the Swiss pharmaceutical company as all but one have been cleared already.
Only former health minister Andreas Loverdos of the previous PASOK Socialists is still being questioned but he said it’s a frame by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras manufactured to regain favor after plummeting in polls for reneging on anti-austerity vows.
The weekly paper Proto Thema reported that Yannis Aggelis, the ex-prosecutor, said there was an “orchestrated” attempt to SYRIZA rivals, including past prime ministers, health ministers, a finance minister and Bank of Greece Gov. Yanis Stournaras.
Aggelis said the government aimed at getting “fast track” indictments based on hearsay evidence from three alleged whistleblowers who could produce no evidence, leaving a prosecutor to drop nine of the cases.
The poll-leading major opposition New Democracy and center-left Movement for Change (KINAL,) which includes former PASOK members accused in the case, said SYRIZA cooked up a fake scandal as Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis said its’ only change of returning to power would be jailing political rivals as fast as possible.
New Democracy now said there was an “organized political conspiracy aimed at tarnishing specific politicians, including two past premiers and the (current) Bank of Greece Governor,” although no charges have been brought against anyone in SYRIZA as political leaders enjoy immunity from prosecution.
KINAL leader Fofi Gennimata said Aggelis’ claims proved there was a political conspiracy engineered by the government, the business newspaper Naftemporiki said.
“…Mr. Tsipras, you have a major responsibility for the conspiracy, and you owe answers,” she said. “Whatever you (SYRIZA) do, no cover-up will be successful”.
In response to the front-page story, prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki, who heads up the still ongoing Novartis investigation as the head of the anti-corruption unit, sent an extrajudicial notice to the paper, demanding an apology and a published retraction.
Touloupaki called her former colleague’s allegations “baseless and unreliable” although she hasn’t been able to charge anyone with anything that has stuck yet without explaining why she’s continuing to persevere as the case is falling apart.
Touloupaki’s predecessor, Eleni Raikou, had resigned after condemning what she called “non-institutional interventions” in her Novartis subsidiary investigation.
Tsipras and his cohorts had said the alleged scandal was the greatest since the establishment of the Modern Greek state.