Thirty deputies from ruling New Democracy (ND) party on Thursday morning submitted a proposal to convene a special Parliamentary committee of inquiry in order to conduct a preliminary investigation into allegations against former alternate justice minister Dimitris Papaggelopoulos.
The latter, who served as a Cabinet member in the previous Tsipras government, has been accused by a handful of people, including serving high-ranking judicial officials, as the politically motivated mastermind of the ongoing Novartis kickbacks investigation.
Ten politicians, including two former prime ministers, the current central banker, Greece's outgoing EU Commissioner and a bevy of one-time health ministers, were publicly implicated by three anonymous witnesses in an alleged kickbacks scheme run by Novartis' Greek subsidiary.
Nevertheless, the very high-profile and contentious investigation by an anti-corruption prosecutor has so far failed to corroborate any of the claims by the anonymous trio, sans a summons to former minister Andreas Loverdos to provide further testimony in the case as a suspect. The trio of anonymous witnesses has been shielded by a new law protecting whistle-blowers. However, those implicated by their accusations have pointed to people promised immunity from other offenses in order to fabricate claims of carry-on luggage filled with euros handed to office-holders -- amid a period when pharmaceutical spending in the country shrunk on the back of memorandum-mandated cuts in state outlays.
All ten of the politicians and much of the political opposition in the country over the past four years charged that the probe, and accompanying press coverage by pro-government media, was aimed at slandering and neutralizing the most prominent rivals of the previous leftist SYRIZA government.
Of late, Papaggelopoulos has been accused of being the figure termed in the press as "Rasputin", the key protagonist in running an alleged judicial conspiracy.