Greek MPs decide to investigate former SYRIZA Justice Minister over criminal offences in Novartis conspiracy

A pre-trial parliamentary committee will investigate former Deputy Justice Minister Papangelopoulos

The Greek Parliament decided after midnight to set up a pre-trial parliamentary hearing committee to investigate the role of former Deputy Justice Minister Deputy Justice Minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos in the Novartis scandal which resulted in a smear campaign of political opponents of the previous SYRIZA and ANEL government and the involvement of a so-called protected witness in the process.

Out of the present 261 deputies, 173 were in favour of the proposal, 84 were against it, while four were invalid ballots and one was blank. The committee will investigate, in principle, the possible criminal responsibilities of the so-called protected witness in the case, as well the former Minister.

The MPs from the Greek Communist party (KKE), Greek Solution and DiEM25 had left earlier. 173 Members voted for and 84 for, while four invalid ballots and one white ballot were found in the ballot box.

Following a seven-hour meeting, which took place in a climate of tension triggered by the high tones used by the opposition leader and MPs in solidarity with Mr Papangelopoulos, presenting him as the victim of political his opponents, the ruling ND parliamentary group’s proposal to investigate Mr Papagelopoulos’ possible guilt on four charges: abuse of power, provocation and offering to commit a crime, breach of duty and false reporting.

The Novartis investigation concerns allegations that the drugmaker bribed Greek doctors and prominent public officials to increase its access to the Greek market and sell its products at inflated prices. It is largely based on the testimonies of the three key witnesses.