Press reports: Ex-Novartis Greece VP tells Parliament com't that prosecutors asked him implicate 10 politicians

Wednesday, 13 November 2019 12:59
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The man at the center of allegations that have fueled a lengthy - and unending - independent judicial probe of Novartis' Greek subsidiary, and specifically whether the latter paid off no less than 10 Greek prime ministers and ministers, finally offered official testimony on Tuesday - but to a Parliament committee of inquiry, rather than to the relevant anti-corruption prosecutor.

The former vice-president of Novartis Greece, Constantinos Frouzis, read out a prepared statement for roughly 40 minutes before members of the Parliamentary committee of inquiry, with press reports citing leaks from inside the chamber saying the pharmaceutical company executive said he only met once, unofficially, with the anti-corruption prosecutor and two of her associates during the course of the investigation.

During that meeting with prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki and the two other prosecutors, Frouzis claimed he offered no testimony and was not questioned, rather the former proposed that he enter a "protected witness" program and offer evidence against the 10 politicians. He reportedly said he declined and reiterated that he never bribed any politician or health ministry official.

The investigating prosecutors subsequently shelved the investigations against seven of the 10 politicians implicated by a trio of "protected witnesses", essentially anonymous witnesses. Most of the 10 politicians were deemed as political rivals of the then SYRIZA government. The political opposition at the time also decried a "judicial conspiracy" aimed at generate scandals against previous governments.

Although Frouzis was subsequently considered as a suspect in alleged offenses, in the same judicial probe, he was never officially summoned to give testimony or answer questions as a suspect in an ongoing case.

He is due to appear again before the same committee on Thursday, where members are expected to ask him questions.

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