One of two 'protected' whistleblowers finally testifies, from afar, before Parliament com't probing judicial conspiracy

Tuesday, 25 February 2020 14:57
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One of two "protected" witnesses whose months of testimony fleshed out claims that 10 top Greek politicians took Novartis kickbacks finally testified - albeit from another location - before a Parliamentary committee of inquiry on Monday, answring MPs' questions over a controversial former alternate minister and whether the latter orchestrated a "judicial conspiracy" to damage rivals of the previous SYRIZA government.

"Maximos Sarafis" testified for some eight hours from the main police headquarters in Athens, refusing to appear before members of the Parliament committee due to his status as a "protected" witnesses, which in this case means an anonymous witness, rather than an individual guarded by law enforcement but whose identity is known.

Leaks of his testimony were widely circulated in the local media afterwards, as the testimony is officially still confidential.

Among others, and based on press reports citing sources, the witness said he never met Dimitris Papaggelopoulos, the one-time alternate justice minister now at the center of the Parliamentary probe.

He also reportedly said no pressure was exerted on him to testify or what to testify.

Conversely, the same leaks have the would-be whistleblower, identified as a former top Novartis Greek executive, as saying he "never witnessed" any illegal payments. When repeatedly asked how, as a result, he made serious allegations of bribery, he reportedly said he "assumed" as much, while also citing "rumors".

Other sources, ones closer to main opposition SYRIZA party, claimed that the witness cited former Novartis Greece general manager as revealing kickbacks to politicians, speaking during meetings with him and other staff members.

The other "protected" witness, a woman, was due to testify on Tuesday, again refusing to appear in person but only from another location.

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