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Greek Ex-Deputy Justice Minister Denies Fixing Novartis Scandal

ATHENS – A former deputy justice minister for Greece’s ousted Radical Left SYRIZA, facing a parliamentary probe, has denied he concocted a fake bribery scandal around the Swiss drug company Novartis to implicate 10 political rivals, nine of whom have already been cleared.
Dimitris Papangelopoulos put out a statement that said, “This is an unprecedented attempt at a vengeful political persecution. The absence of any proof in the case file against me and against (former PM) Alexis Tsipras make this sordidness ridiculous.”
Before he was beaten by the New Democracy in July 7 snap elections, Tsipras had said the ten politicians from the Conservatives and former PASOK Socialists took money from Novartis, calling it the “biggest scandal in the Modern Greek state history,” but offered no proof.
The targets and critics said he used an ongoing probe of Novartis’ role in Greece to go after his political foes as he was plummeting in polls after reneging on anti-austerity vows and surrendering to the country’s European creditors.
But New Democracy, which is planning to bring the parliamentary inquiry and has a majority in the body, said that Tsipras would not be looked at, leading the Leftists to claim there was no evidence against him and insisting there was a scandal.
The case was brought based on the testimony of four whistleblowers, three of whom still remain secret, with several of those who were accused and cleared suing to demand their identities as the alleged scandal unraveled.
Papangelopoulos said the government is trying to “hide the truth” and “distract the Greek public in order to conceal the serious responsibilities not just in the Novartis scandal, but also in its investigation,” but still didn’t offer any evidence of any wrongdoing.
The case file was opened in Parliament and included the testimony of Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Ioannis Angelis, who has claimed that an unnamed politician dubbed “Rasputin” played a pivotal role in influencing the course of the investigation into the alleged scandal, said the newspaper Kathimerini.
He did not identify Rasputin – nor did he explain why he didn’t – but former Premier and previous New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, one of the accused said that it was Papangelopoulos.

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