Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the government will not relinquish its right to reimbursement for damage caused to the state by Novartis, as the former coalition government of New Democracy and PASOK “did with the Siemens kickbacks case.”
Tsipras was addressed the Parliament on Monday evening, after the coalition government SYRIZA-Independent Greeks submitted the proposal for the establishment of a special committee to investigate examine the Novartis bribery case. The committee should investigate allegation as to whether two former prime ministers and eight former ministers accepted bribes by the Swiss drugmaker.
Among those are former PM Antonis Samaras, the governor of Bank of Greece, Yiannis Stournaras and the EU Migration Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos.
“According to preliminary estimates the state lost 23 billion euros due to overpricing of drugs in the period from 2000 to 2o10,” Tsipras said.
The loss caused by Novartis is estimated at 3 billion euros. The allegations based on witnesses who have testified to Greek and US authorities (FBI) refer apart form politicians also to high-ranking state officials and several thousands of doctors working in the public and the private sector.
Analysts forecast that after the Novartis case, other similar scandals and demands for investigations will come to surface.
Tsipras said that it was imperative that there would be no cover-up and that the government would do anything possible to “recover the money stolen by the Greek people down to the last euro.”
Opposition parties that expressed support to the parliamentary investigation are so far: Democratic Aiglment (PASOK), To Potami, KKE (Communists), Centrists’ Union.
New Democracy also supports the invesitgation although it insists that it is a “plot orchestrated by SYRIZA.”