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Greek parliament moves to investigate 10 politicians

Published on 22/02/18 at 09:12am

After a 20-hour debate, Greek parliament has voted in favour of investigating 10 politicians named as part of an investigation into alleged bribery and collusion between high-ranking ministers and the pharma giant, Novartis.

The debate occasioned strong language from both sides of the debate, with the defendants accusing the government, led by current Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras of Syriza, of orchestrating a smear campaign to distract from current affairs.

At the debate, Tsipras said, “After hubris, catharsis is required […] Justice will be served” and that the vote would allow a “break with the past system of arrogance, greed and no transparency.”

One of those standing accused in former Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, who told parliament, “I know Tsipras detests me, but you have gone too far. You will be held to account for this frame-up against me”.

He also said, “Every government can call on fake witnesses to tarnish its rivals” and referred to the process as portending the “end of urban democracy”.

The case has been investigated now for over a year, producing a case file that contains over 2,500 pages. It is thought that the strength of the proceedings weighs on witness testimony but events that are alleged to have occurred are strongly disputed by the accused.

Lawsuits have been launched against the witnesses in an attempt to reveal their identity, as they are current provided anonymity. Eleftherios Venizelos, former leader of the PASOK party, has filed a lawsuit against one of the witnesses, others within the 10 standing accused have taken similar action.

Details of the witness statements have already been leaked to the press, with Avramopoulos, former Greek Health Minister from 2006 to 2009, accused of mishandling a blood screening contract and ordering a large amount of the avian flu vaccine.

The current government’s critics said that it was using the investigation to distract from the fact that the country will be exiting the third and last bailout program in August, whilst rising tensions between Greece and Turkey are also a cause for concern.

Ben Hargreaves

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