“The Novartis case is the tip of a big iceberg, one of the many reasons that led the country to bankruptcy,” deputy Health Ministry, Pavlos Polakis said on Thursday. The 85 billion euros of “black” money from drugs overpricing and illegal wages in the period from 1991 to 2010 make one-fourth of Greece’s public debt, he said adding “unfortunately also in the period 2010-2015, when the Greek people was suffering under the bailout agreements, some with specific moves retained profits thus continuing the flow of black money.
He praised the cooperation between Greek and US Justice authorities.
Day in, day out, Greek media revealed new details about the course of investigation. After years of research, US investigations seem to have gone much further than the Greek one, the FBI has reportedly collected a lot of data based on two ‘protected witness’s’ testimonies, audio recordings and even footage.
According to capital.gr, data collected by the US authorities include audio and visual recordings from closed meetings of Novartis.
In a characteristic example, company executive is heard saying about a person who was receiving money from the company “tell him if he doesn’t do it, the door of Novartis definitely closes for him.” In another part, the payments of thousands euros to him are recalled (in a blackmailing way?” capital.gr notes.
Investigation is focusing on Novartis’ 16 bank accounts in Bermudas. Cayman, Switzerland, Luxembourg, London and New York, accounts that are allegedly connected with Novertis offshore included in Paradise Papers.
According to one witness’ testimony, a company account in UBS Zurich was used to send money to doctors and other persons in Greece. More than 4,000 people, mainly doctors, have allegedly received money from this account.
Investigation is proceeding in fast pace and is expected to cause a storm to doctors, government officials, Novartis executives and political figures,” capital.gr predicts.
Meanwhile, the Greek Parliament is preparing to send the Novartis case file to voting. It is scheduled for next Wed (Feb 21). The procedure will start at 9 am and conclude at 10 pm, while more than 50 lawmakers are expected to take the floor. The voting is whether the Parliament will accept the coalition government proposal to establish a parliamentary committee to examine possible involvement of two former prime ministers and 8 ex ministers whose names are mentioned in the case file.