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Society

Novartis Whistleblower Says Squeezed to Accuse Politicians Over Bribes

October 18, 2019

ATHENS – An alleged whistleblower who claimed 10 rival politicians of the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA took bribes from the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis said he was forced to do so under pressure from corruption prosecutors.

Nikos Maniadakis, a former Health Ministry adviser, testified before a Supreme Court prosecutor that he was squeezed by prosecutors he refused to name – it’s common in Greece for charges to be made without identifying anyone.

He is one of four whistleblowers in the so-called scandal that has unraveled after none were able to produce a shred of evidence beyond their claims. One had been revealed earlier after being stopped at the international airport trying to get to Spain.

Several of the politicians targeted have sued to seek the names of their accusers that were protected under Greece’s whistleblower law but Maniadakis, said Kathimerini, testified to prosecutor Evangelos Zacharis, “I didn’t see, participate in or know of any illegal acts by politicians,” recanting his own previous story.

He said was pressured to name former New Democracy leader and previous Premier Antonis Samaras, former health minister Adonis Georgiadis and Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras. There was no word on whether Maniadakis would now be prosecuted for that.

Earlier this year Maniadakis was charged with accepting bribes from the Swiss drugs firm as payment for influencing Greek health policies. His lawyer, Theodoros Mandas, described his client’s going from a protected witness to a defendant as  “erroneous and incomprehensible.”

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