The governor of the Greek central bank has filed a lawsuit against two witnesses in the Novartis bribery scandal who he says named him as one of the several senior politicians who allegedly received bribes from the Swiss company to allow it gain an unfair advantage in the Greek market. The lawsuit accuses the two former Novartis employees of perjury and defamation.
The Central bank governor, Yannis Stournaras, also submitted a request to the Greek Supreme Court to have the anonymity of the protected witnesses removed, because, according to him it “is contrary to national law and the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.”
The complaint comes after the anti-corruption prosecutor Eleni Tulupaki requested access to information on bank deposits, deposit boxes, stocks and other assets linked to the politicians under investigation as well as those of their families.
Novartis is under suspicion of bribing Greek policy makers and doctors between 2006 and 2015 to allow the company to attain a dominant position in the Greek market and sell drugs at high prices despite there being cheaper alternatives in the market.
Former Finance Minister (between 2012 and 2014) and former professor of economics at the University of Athens, Yannis Stournaras said in an interview with a Greek newspaper that he had been paid by Novartis to attend “two or three conferences” on the Greek economy, before taking over the Finance portfolio in 2012.
The current left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has promised to “shed light” on this affair, symptomatic according to him of the “mafia methods” of the previous right-wing and socialist governments. In February Greek MPs voted to establish a preliminary commission of inquiry into the scandal.
All the politicians involved in the investigation, including another former finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, have denied any involvement, denouncing the case as a “conspiracy” propagated by the current government.