ATHENS – Just as two Greek investigative journalists are being questioned for reporting on an alleged scandal surrounding the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, two politicians accused in the case were cleared.
Financial prosecutors stopped a probe into two leading members of the ruling New Democracy government, Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis and former European Commissioner Dimitri Avramopoulos.
They were among 10 rivals of the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA which said the case was the biggest scandal in modern Greek history despite offering no proof, the targets saying it was a political witch hunt before it fell apart.
The investigators said there was no evidence beyond the word of alleged whistleblowers who said they thought the politicians took bribes, but which prosecutors haven’t been able to prove or uncover.
The case was looking into whether anyone took money from Novartis – which the company denied – to further its share of the drug market in Greece, which set off back-and-forth of accusations between the parties.
Prosecutors said the testimonies the protected witnesses – whose identities were supposed to be kept confidential before two names leaked out – who said they overheard the politicians took money.
Investigators said Georgiadis, a former health minister, didn’t favor Novartis nor damage the interests of competitor companies nor was there any indication he was bribed.
Prosecutors also said that the analysis of Avramopoulos’ accounts did not reveal any payments from Novartis although the case has lingered for several years and shows no signs of ending.