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Politics

Greece Creates Financial Prosecutor’s Office After Novartis Case Unravels

November 17, 2020

ATHENS – Greece is setting up a new financial prosecutor's office after a debacle involving prosecutors who pushed an alleged bribery case against politicians and the Swiss drug company Novartis despite no evidence produced.

Former anti-corruption prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki was removed in September as she continued to probe the case while accused of abuse of power and dereliction of duty for her handling of it.

The case in which 10 rivals of the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA were accused of taking money from the firm to help boost its business fell apart quickly and was based on the word of three whistleblowers.

They said they only overheard the accusations of bribery from people they didn't mention and Touloupaki kept pressing the case even as there was nothing to back it up, and will lose her job over it, said Kathimerini.

The paper said that the new office is expected to start operating by the end of  November and will be composed of 16 prosecutors. The head will be a senior prosecutor selected by the Supreme Judicial Council of the Supreme Court.

It will replace the Corruption Prosecutor’s Office and the Financial Crime Prosecutor’s Office, which were established in 2011 under the government of then-premier George Papandreou.

Touloupaki earlier said she was the victim of a “a coordinated attempt at moral extermination” and testified before to deputy Supreme Court prosecutor Evangelos Zacharis who is investigating allegations judicial officials were influenced by SYRIZA to get its rivals as the party was falling in polls before losing July 7, 2019 snap elections to the New Democracy Conservatives.

Seven accused have already been cleared but SYRIZA keeps backing its claim by then-premier Alexis Tsipras they were guilty of the biggest scandal since the creation of the modern Greek state.

A prosecutor is looking into whether SYRIZA's former alternative justice minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos, meddled in the case to push a fake scandal to benefit the sagging leftist party.

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