Judiciary split over Novartis investigation

27 February 2018
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A rift is growing within the union representing Greece’s judges and prosecutors over a disagreement about how to deal with the Novartis bribery investigation.

The president and top-ranking members of the union on Tuesday issued a statement condemning the stance of a smaller group of judicial officials who appear to share the opinion of former Supreme Court president Vassiliki Thanou, now head of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s legal department, according to which the case file should be forwarded to corruption prosecutors so that the non-political aspect of the case – involving doctors alleged to have taken bribes – can also be investigated.

In a statement titled “Coordinated Attacks with Obvious Targets,” the union president and another eight union members accused the smaller group of a “crescendo of provocativeness and impudence.” “These colleagues have the impertinence to accuse the presidency of the biggest union in the country of involvement in party-affiliated exchanges, of facilitating a certain political party, and have thus undermined the influence and integrity of the union and of the judiciary,” the statement said.

Earlier this week a group of five union members had accused the president and other senior union members of serving political interests and had embraced the stance of Thanou.

Separately on Tuesday, in comments to Real FM, Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis responded to opposition claims implicating Shipping Minister Panayiotis Kouroublis in the Novartis affair.Kontonis said that Kouroublis’s name was only mentioned in the case file because he had been named by two PASOK MPs.

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