The Parliamentary committee probing the Novartis scandal is approaching a conclusion, as the drawing up of the members’ findings has started. Entrepreneur Sabby Mionis is scheduled to testify before the committee next Wednesday, February 26, and will reportedly add more incriminating evidence against the former deputy justice minister in the SYRIZA government, Dimitris Papangelopoulos.
Mr. Mionis will reportedly testify that the SYRIZA Minister attempted to blatantly and cynically blackmail him.
The businessman will purportedly say he is in the position to back his allegations, if needed, by presenting undeniable factual evidence and documents he has in his possession.
Mr. Mionis’s deposition is expected to compound the backlash caused by the four prosecutors’ depositions against Papangelopoulos’s tactics and a relentless judicial network operating during SYRIZA’s days in power.
Mr. Mionis is expected to file a lawsuit against Dimitris Papangelopoulos before he meets with the members of the committee on Wednesday over a series of offenses he allegedly committed, including forming up a criminal organisation as well as attempted felonious extortion.
According to reliable sources, the key to the businessman’s deposition is expected to be a special meeting held on March 10, 2016 with Papangelopoulos, which took place at the office of a top SYRIZA government minister, who was on friendly terms with both men and was interested in solving the differences that had arisen between them.
Mr Mionis will reportedly claim D. Papangelopoulos had asked him for financial compensation – in a rather pressing manner – in exchange for the politician to “shelve” fabricated court cases that had put the entrepreneur under duress at that time. Mr. Papagelopoulos will naturally deny all allegations. As Mr. Mionis will say, the other SYRIZA minister attempted to defuse the situation, but the former deputy justice minister insisted overtly and intransigently on his demands.
Businessman Saby Mionis, his lawyer Stavros Papastavrou and Mionis’s top associate Angelos Metaxas had been targeted in the past five years resulting in unprecedented judicial and political implications.
In August 2015, following an eponymous complaint, they were charged with setting up a criminal organisation that trafficked money which ended up in the hands of politicians.
Since then they had suffered a series of anonymous and fraudulent complaints and slanderous accusations that were circulated and reproduced via dozens of press releases and blogs.
SYRIZA officials, even the former prime minister himself had used their names in a malicious and misleading way for political purposes. In particular, lawyer Stavros Papastavrou was the victim of a deliberate and TV commercial for the 2015 elections. Eventually, on June 18, 2019, their case was dismissed in court because there were no indications of the alleged felonies they had been charged with.
However, the matter is that no-one was held accountable for the unfounded allegations against them. It all started with the publication of the Lagarde list when their names appeared on the long list of names. However, the actual data linked to their names was misinterpreted in terms of the money trail. Entrepreneurs Mionis and Metaxas – the latter a son of the well-known founder of the same name brand in Greece since the late 19th century – had founded a successful mutual fund management company in 1998, CMA (Capital Management Advisors), which did not do business in Greece.
Mr. Papastavrou was a lawyer. The company was sold to the Swiss banking group EFG in February 2006, and since June 2009, Sabby Mionis had left the EFG International group to focus solely on charity and activism.
However, the banking group listed on the Zurich Stock Exchange maintained its accounts at the HSBC bank in Geneva, which operated as a custodian. All the accounts managed by the Mutual Funds company were necessarily on the notorious name list. The rise of a radical mentality which encouraged the targeting of people inevitably resulted in a vindictive witch hunt against the so-called culprits turning innocent people into the ideal scapegoats. The fact that international Mutual Funds are subject to constant and multifaceted scrutiny on the legality was totally ignored.
The fact that Stavros Papastavrou’s name was on the list, as a trustee, of a company owned by Sabby Mionis put everyone at the heart of political expediency, as the lawyer was close to then Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. As a result, his name was ruthlessly exploited and shamed for political reasons through the spreading of countless lies and systematic inaccuracies.
Meanwhile, he was fined a hefty € 3-million tax fine for the company in which he was merely a proxy. Although Sabby Mionis had mentioned that Papastavrou was a close friend and college classmate, while being a co-beneficiary with him in various accounts when he (Mionis) went through serious health problems (he had cancer at 29) in the event that something happened to him, his claims were completely ignored.
Mr. Mionis’s denials that Stavros Papastavrou was a co-manager of the Fund, claiming he was only a lawyer of the firm, were also disregarded.
Eventually, the fine imposed on him was scrapped by the courts as exculpatory evidence surfaced. With his acquittal, the fine was returned by the State, but again without anyone being held accountable for his ordeal.
Angelos Metaxas also faced a court upheaval. In June 2015 he was prosecuted by Public Prosecutor Eleni Touloupakis, and a warrant was issued which was passed on to Interpol. Mr. Metaxas was charged with tax evasion and money laundering allegedly identified in the Lagarde list.
The businessman and his family faced a rough time during the court battle and the case, as he was deprived of his freedom of movement for three years. Eventually, the warrants were dropped and cancelled without anyone being held responsible for his illegal extradition until now.
author: Dimitris Pagadakis