Greek prosecutors drop another inquiry in Novartis bribery case, but 3 remain open
FiercePharma | August 30, 2019
Allegations that Novartis bribed top Greek officials may look even flimsier now that prosecutors have decided to toss out yet another line of inquiry. But the case isn’t dead yet. Greece’s corruption prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki found no reason to continue investigating the country’s central bank chief Yannis Stournaras over bribery claims that involve Novartis, The Associated Press reported. Stournaras, the Bank of Greece governor, is the seventh of 10 top government officials to be cleared in the case, including two former prime ministers. However, Touloupaki is now seeking parliamentary approval to investigate former health minister Andreas Loverdos, the news site Kathimerini reported, even though previous reports said investigators had found no evidence of his accepting bribes. The case also remains open for Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis and EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, according to the local newspaper. The probe stemmed from whistleblower allegations that Novartis had paid officials millions of euros to boost the sales of its drugs and maintain favorable pricing in Greece. But since the alleged scandal broke early 2018, it has turned into a political farce. The former administration led by radical left party Syriza—which initiated the probe—called the case “the biggest scandal” in modern Greek history, while those standing accused have called it “the most ruthless and ridiculous conspiracy theory ever” and a crusade against political opponents.