Former high court prosecutor charges ‘procedural violations’, fast-track indictments in controversial Novartis furor
The latest twist in the drawn-out Novartis kickbacks investigation are accusations by a former supreme court prosecutor over prior knowledge of the probe by both the current justice minister and the chief prosecutor of the high court.
In a lengthy announcement released on Wednesday, former deputy chief prosecutor Ioannis Aggelis essentially points political “oversight” over an explosive case that, at one point, included allegations of kickbacks and bribe-taking by past premiers, health ministers and finance ministers. Those allegations, made exclusively by three (then four) anonymous witnesses over the course of the past year and a half for periods prior to 2015, appear to have fizzled out, as only one past office-holder, PASOK minister Andreas Loverdos, was summoned for additional questioning by the relevant anti-corruption prosecutor as a suspect.
Wednesday’s announcement by Aggelis comes after the current justice minister, Michalis Kalogirou, had requested a disciplinary review of the former’s actions as the supervisor and coordinator of the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office, which is headed by Eleni Touloupaki, the primary prosecutor behind the continuing investigation.
A request to lift the Parliamentary immunity of the past office-holders, most of whom are now current opposition deputies, generated a firestorm of criticism of both the judicial investigation and the leftist SYRIZA government, which was accused of engineering the probe in order to tarnish a bevy of its most potent political rivals: primarily Antonis Samaras, Yannis Stournaras, Evangelos Venizelos, Adonis Georgiadis and Andreas Loverdos,
“…after dissemination of fabricated information against me, and an attempt to create a conspiracy against me by an individual known in the justice system circles as “Rasputin” – who claimed that I supposedly refused to receive a significant evidence in a memory stick related to the Novartis case – and after an attempt to defame me by media friendly with Mr. Rasputin … everyone now know who is behind the name ‘Rasputin’, although they are afraid to name him, for obvious reasons,” Aggelis charged.
He also criticized his former subordinate, prosecutor Touloupaki, saying she engaged in “procedural violations” and applied “fast track” indictments, while adding that outgoing Supreme Court chief prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou signed off on Touloupaki’s actions.
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