ATHENS – New revelations concerning the ongoing Novartis case, currently under investigation by parliament, were made in a report published by the Greek newspaper “Kathimerini” on Sunday. In its report, the paper revealed the identity of two of the three protected witnesses whose testimony had implicated 10 politicians.
The paper published a confidential document dated October 8, 2019 that is signed by the head of the Public Prosecution for Corruption Eleni Touloupaki. This states that two of the protected witnesses are the same individuals that were proposed as witnesses to the United States by a legal firm, in exchange for financial benefits payable under U.S. law.
Citing judicial sources, the newspaper said that this may lead to their testimony being declared invalid since a witness cannot qualify for protection when he or she is personally involved in the case and agrees to give testimony in exchange for financial gain.
According to the report, Supreme Court Deputy Chief Prosecutor Evangelos Zacharis who now heads up the investigation has asked U.S. authorities to supply information about the two protected witnesses and what they were given in exchange for giving evidence, as well as whether others were questioned and details of their testimony.
Touloupaki said the U.S. authorities sent a “top secret” document providing various items of intelligence to Greek authorities on the strict condition that this would not be used anywhere, either in a criminal case or by the government.
Touloupaki notes that the two witnesses had access and knowledge of evidence concerning bribes given by Novartis to Greek officials, which enabled Greek authorities to discover the identity of at least one of the two secret witnesses identified using only code names.
That individual was then made a protected witness by the Greek judicial system and a witness in the public interest with the code name ‘Maximos Sarafis’.
The second Greek protected witness with the code name ‘Aikaterini Kelesi’ was also first identified via a U.S. justice department document as a Novartis employee who was aware of the bribery plan. According to Touloupaki, the witness’s identity had also been revealed unofficially by foreign authorities before November 6, 2017.