Ex 'anonymous witness' in Novartis probe: Prosecutors pressured me to implicate previous PM, ministers

Wednesday, 04 December 2019 14:44
UPD:14:46
Eurokinissi/ΒΑΣΙΛΗΣ ΡΕΜΠΑΠΗΣ
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The fourth witness to appear before a preliminary fact-finding committee tasked with probing whether a long-drawn-out investigation by an anti-corruption prosecutor into allegations of Novartis kickbacks morphed into an alleged judicial conspiracy to sully political rivals of the previous SYRIZA government on Tuesday said he was "intensely pressured to name politicians".

Dimitris Maniadakis, a public health lecturer at an Athens-area public tertiary school and a former top consultant in Greece's domestic pharmaceutical market, has freely admitted, even before his appearance before members of the committee, that he was one of a trio of anonymous witnesses that provided testimony implicating up to 10 former prime ministers and ministers of Greek coalition governments between 2010 and 2015.

The main focus on the parliamentary probe is former alternate justice minister Dimitris Papaggelopoulos, a career top prosecutor who also served a Costas Karamanlis government before 2009, before being appointed by leftist Alexis Tsipras as an out-of-Parliament Cabinet member.

Maniadakis, according to leaked reports of his testimony, said he was repeatedly asked questions by anti-corruption prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki and her associates about five high prominent office-holders: former PM Antonis Samaras, former health minister and current development minister Adonis Georgiadis, former FinMin and current Bank of Greece (BoG) Gov. Yannis Stournaras, former health minister and current KINAL party deputy Andreas Loverdos, and finally, former top minister and PASOK president Evangelos Venizelos.

The reports refer to explosive allegations by Maniadakis, who charged that prosecutors showed him newspaper clips and ministerial decisions in order to have him agreed that the latter damaged the state.

He also said he answered in the negative when asked if he saw ministers being bribes or if he saw carry-ons filled with cash.

In beginning his testimony, Maniadakis reportedly said he now faces criminal charges because he refused to admit to "things that never happened", where, in turn, he was implicated by one of the two other still "anonymous" witnesses.

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