Former sec't to one-time top Novartis Greece exec reportedly tells Parliament com't she has no knowledge of payoffs to politicians

Tuesday, 26 November 2019 19:11
UPD:27/11/2019 08:12
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Members of a Parliament fact-finding committee on Tuesday heard testimony by the one-time secretary to ex-Novartis Greece vice-president and general manager Constantinos Frouzis, with the witness reportedly stating that she has no knowledge of kickbacks or bribery to politicians.

The highly anticipated testimony by Maria Maraggeli also reportedly replied, to a question by a deputy serving on the committee, that she never saw a "Samsonite (carry on) with cash" to be delivered to an ex-prime minister.

The former Novartis Greece secretary was repeatedly asked, according to press leaks, if she is one of three anonymous witnesses who claimed that up to 10 past prime ministers and ministers accepted kickbacks by the pharmaceutical giant's Greek subsidiary prior to 2015 - after which a leftist SYRIZA government came to power. She replied in the negative.

Asked why she didn't seek legal recourse against a bevy of media reports claiming she was one of the still anonymous witnesses, Maraggeli said she does not have the economic means to legally challenge the allegations.

During his testimony earlier this month, Frouzis told committee members that he left "disappointed" after his unofficial meeting with anti-corruption chief prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki and two other associate prosecutors in early 2018. According to widely reported press coverage on Friday, and despite the fact that the sessions were closed-door,  Frouzis said he inferred from Touloupaki's stance that she was only interested in information involving politicians.

By "politicians" in this case, he was referring to the 10 past prime ministers and ministers implicated by the trio of anonymous witnesses, with investigations of seven of the 10 subsequently shelved by the same anti-corruption unit that once conveyed the cases to parliament.

Frouzis directly charged, according to the same media reports, that the allegations made by the three anonymous witnesses proved to be baseless, at least in the seven already closed cases.

He reportedly declined to use the word "conspiracy", something alluded to by sources close to the main opposition SYRIZA party, which was in power up until July 2019.

Although repeatedly implicated as the man who ordered that kickbacks be funneled to politicians, and even that he personally wheeled the cash to recipients in wheeled carry-ons, Frouzis was never officially summoned by Touloupaki and her associates to answer the charges made by the still unknown witnesses.  

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