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Politics

Greece’s Corruption Prosecutor Ousted Over Novartis Debacle

September 10, 2020

ATHENS – Greece's top anti-corruption prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki will be removed from her post as she deals with charges of abuse of power and dereliction of duty for her handling of the alleged bribery case involving the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, which fell apart without evidence.

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 unraveled quickly and was based on the word of three whistleblowers.

But 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.

In July, she 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.

Touloupaki and two associates denied charges of abuse of power, dereliction of duty and making false statements, saying it was absurd that she should be accused of setting up a case that has unraveled, said Kathimerini.

The three charged prosecutors said they believed the witnesses who made the claims but it wasn't explained why no evidence had been produced and why the case continued to be pushed despite that.

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.

The Justice Ministry is planning to merge the offices of Greece’s corruption prosecutors and financial prosecutors, the newspaper reporting that a bill will be sent to Parliament to replace other prosecutors as well.

Touloupaki’s term as chief corruption prosecutor had been due to expire in the spring of 2021 but she refused to step down as the Novartis case came apart, drawing widespread objections within the judiciary, the report added.

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