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Greek Prosecutors Fall Out Over Novartis Bribery Case

Greek Supreme Court prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou is investigating claims by a former deputy corruption prosecutor that his colleagues and boss mishandled a probe into an alleged bribery scandal. Three whistleblowers, two of whom remain anonymous, have given testimony about the case, which involves the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis.

Corruption prosecutor Ioannis Angelis resigned after media reports suggested that he and three colleagues were offered information about a former Greek minister during a November meeting with American judicial officials in Vienna.  The report alleged that Angelis and his colleagues had rejected the information because it was the product of wiretapping.

Angelis has dismissed the report, as have other Greek judicial sources.  The newspaper Kathimerini writes that Angelis was so incensed by the allegation that he told colleagues “I am not going to prison,” when he submitted his resignation.

A four-page statement Angelis has submitted to Xeni Dimitriou appears to suggest one of his three associates leaked the claims about the Americans offering them information. “It was only the four of us there, and it was not me who spoke,” he said.

Dimitriou was expected to summon Greece’s top corruption prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki and another two officials that were with her and Angelis during the trip to Vienna, where they met with a group of American officials who are also investigating Novartis.

Greek judicial sources insist that the meeting in Vienna was unofficial and that no information was received from the American officials on any Greek politician.

A source told Kathimerini the Novartis probe had not turned up any evidence of Greek politicians accepting payments from Novartis.

The investigation concerns allegations the drugmaker bribed doctors and public officials, including two former Prime Ministers and Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras, to increase access to the Greek market and sell products at inflated prices.

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