Greece rocked by claims drug giant bribed former leaders

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Report alleges Swiss drugmaker Novartis bribed senior politicians and 1000’s of medical doctors

The Greek primary minister, Alexis Tsipras, has called for parliament to investigate irrespective of whether two of his predecessors and eight previous ministers recognized bribes from the Swiss drugmaker Novartis, right after allegations of industrial-scale bribery involving senior politicians.

The previous PMs Antonis Samaras and Panagiotis Pikrammenos, the governor of the Lender of Greece and the EU’s migration commissioner were being all discovered as alleged beneficiaries of bribes in a report compiled by anti-corruption prosecutors with the help of US authorities.

Novartis is alleged to have bribed politicians to approve overpriced contracts and to have produced payments to hundreds of medical practitioners as portion of concerted attempts to boost gross sales among 2006 to 2015.

The statements have rocked Greek modern society since coming to light past week. 1 serving government minister claimed the kickbacks surpassed €50m and resulted in expenditures of additional than €4bn to the Greek general public health process.

The deputy justice minister, Dimitris Papangelopoulos, explained it was “the most significant scandal since the institution of the Greek state” pretty much 200 years back.

Widening the web on Monday, Tsipras mentioned it was essential there could be no cover-up. “We will make use of each individual electric power afforded by nationwide and global law to get better the revenue stolen from the Greek people today down to the last euro,” the leftist chief informed MPs in his Syriza occasion. “We will do everything we can to expose the reality.”

MPs will vote on setting up a committee of inquiry afterwards this thirty day period. Only parliament has the electricity to investigate politicians for alleged infractions through their term in office.

The allegations have been rebutted vehemently by the accused. The report’s reliance on three unnamed witnesses – who are at this time below authorities protection – has been in particular criticised, and lawful gurus contend that the claims would not stand up in court.

The EU commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos demanded that the identity of the witnesses be exposed and expressed his “disgust” at what he claimed have been fabrications developed by “sick minds”. He stands accused of paying for 16m anti-flu vaccines from Novartis when health and fitness minister concerning 2006 and 2009.

Echoing opposition statements that the prices are politically enthusiastic, Samaras, who has been accused of accepting suitcases stuffed with dollars although he was PM, said it was “the most ruthless and preposterous conspiracy idea ever”. He pledged to acquire lawful action versus Tsipras.

Pikrammenos, who previously presided around Greece’s highest authorized physique and headed a caretaker authorities in May-June 2012, claimed he experienced hardly ever regarded everyone at Novartis. Evangelos Venizelos, a former deputy premier and finance minister also named in the report, denounced the promises as “a low cost political diversion”.

Tsipras’ two-get together coalition governing administration has long been lagging in viewpoint polls, the selling price of implementing stringent austerity measures in return for the financial debt-ridden region acquiring rescue money from the EU.

In a assertion on Monday, Novartis explained it was cooperating entirely with Greek and US authorities. “We have also been conducting our possess inner investigation,” the Basel-primarily based company explained. “We are identified to completely recognize the situation and acknowledge responsibility for any steps that fell down below our higher requirements of ethical business carry out. If any wrongdoing is observed we will choose fast and decisive action and do every little thing probable to avert more misconduct.”

Novartis has faced very similar investigations in current years. Last 12 months South Korea fined the corporation $48m for presenting kickbacks to medical practitioners.

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Via The Guardian

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