A government spokesman on Friday announced that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will propose to leftist SYRIZA party's Parliament group the establishment of a preliminary committee of inquiry over the now explosive Novartis kickbacks and price-fixing furor in the country.
Spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said such a Parliamentary investigative committee, if established, will ostensibly decide over whatever legal issues and issues of substance come under its review.
The Novartis case, in is Greek dimensions, has further poisoned the already acrimonious political climate in Greece, with the opinion poll-trailing leftist-rightist coalition government referring to the "biggest scandal" in modern Greek history, in terms of monetary value and the politicians involved. The latter, as cited in a case file transferred by an anti-corruption prosecutor to Parliament, include two former prime ministers and eight former ministers.
Conversely, the opposition has directly charged that thoroughly unsubstantiated testimony, as it claims, by three "protected witnesses" - only one of whom is reportedly a former Novartis Hellas employee - is the byproduct of long-standing conspiracy by members of the Tsipras government, in collusion with judicial officials and a portion of the pro-government press.
Legal experts in Greece, meanwhile, have pointed out that the alleged offenses described in the case file, i.e. breach of faith and felony bribery, have exceeded statutes of limitations if they involve former elected lawmakers, something already known to prosecutors and the current government. As such, the opposition decried what it called an aggressive mudslinging campaign aimed at diverting public attention from the economic crisis, popular reactions to resumed fYRoM "name talks" as well as trying to generate a much-needed fillip for the beleaguered Tsipras government.
Top Greek politicians, including former prime minister Antonis Samaras, finance minister and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, current BoG Gov. Yannis Stournaras as well as current EU Commission Dimitris Avramopoulos, have been named in the case file probe.