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Society

Former Novartis VP Says Prosecutor Squeezed Him to Blow Whistle

November 15, 2019

ATHENS – The former head of the Swiss drug company Novartis’ Greece unit, Constantinos Frouzis, reportedly told a Parliament committee that anti-corruption prosecutor  Eleni Touloupaki wanted him to become a secret witness against 10 politicians accused of taking bribes from the firm, although no evidence has been produced.

He has found himself at the center of a swirling story that has seen Touloupaki keeping alive the probe although nine of those accused by former Premier and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras of taking money have already been cleared.

The case is based on the word of three whistleblowers, two of whom remain secret – with one saying he was also pressured to testify against the accused – and Frouzis said Touloupaki wanted him to become a secret witness too although he has yet to be summoned to testify.

He was talking to lawmakers in a closed-door session but what he said leaked out fast into the Greek media even during his eight-hour appearance, with reports that he responded to question from a lawmaker by saying,  “…I have not given a euro to anyone; I have not given money to any politician … I never met, privately, with Antonis Samaras (former premier and previous New Democracy leader who was accused) , I never transported money in a carry-on bag or even a flying bag.”

He was said to have told the panel that Touloupaki, during an unofficial May 2018 meeting, squeezed to cooperate with the investigation and to essentially enter in a status where he would be considered a “protected witness”.

Based on another press leak, Frouzis, who also served as the President of the local drug companies’ association, said no names of politicians were mentioned during then.

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