Novartis probe reportedly ‘stumbles’ onto former ministers, PMs

Naftemporiki — Prosecutors investigating alleged kickbacks by the Greek subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Novartis have transferred a bulky case file to a supreme court prosecutor. according to media reports, included in the ongoing judicial probe are eight former ministers and two past prime ministers.

Immunity laws in the country mandate a different judicial route for investigations and prosecution of high-ranking politicians.

The case investigators will now have to refer the case to parliament for approval before they can proceed further.

According to reports leaked on Monday evening, the investigation focuses on the period between 2006 and early 2015, just before the current government came to power.

In move certain to generate sharp opposition criticism of alleged “interference”, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos on Monday confirmed that he was briefed over the investigation during a visit to the supreme court prosecutor’s office, a briefing he said was prompted by press reports in the Sunday editions of a handful of newspapers a day earlier.

In a later reaction, former prime minister Antonis Samaras, who was premier up until January 2015, issued an angry response, referring to a “new slander by  Mr. Tsipras” against him. He also said he will seek legal recourse.