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Greek parliament passes Novartis pharma probe over to judiciary

Greece’s parliament has no jurisdiction to investigate the role of ten politicians in alleged bribes by Swiss drugmaker Novartis, lawmakers ruled late on Friday night when they voted in favor to hand investigation over to judiciary.

The majority of the lawmakers mostly SYRIZA-ANEL that were present in the parliament, 168 out of 172, voted against the investigation.

Ten ballot boxes were set, one for each of the ten politicians allegedly involved in the case.

All opposition parties — with the exception of the Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn — refused to participate in the vote, following a long and tense debate. New Democracy, PASOK, To Potami, KKE and Centrists’ Union lawmakers had left the plenary before the voting.

Lawmakers who voted decided that parliament was not competent to probe the allegations.

The move follows an initial judicial investigation into bribes Swiss drugmaker Novartis allegedly paid to boost the sales and prices of its products in Greece.

The politicians to be investigated include two former prime ministers and the current central bank governor. All deny wrongdoing, accusing the government of trying to smear them and to pervert the course of justice.

Greek ministers are protected from prosecution if the alleged offense was committed while in office. Under Greek law, parliament is the only institution that can investigate them or lift their immunity.

Former prime minister, Antonis Samaras, told the parliament that he will legally chase “Tsipras and his accomplices”  to the end in order to prove his innocence.

Greek prosecutors were probing allegations from three individuals suggesting doctors and public officials had accepted kickbacks in a period spanning 2006 to 2015.

Ten public officials who served under socialist and conservative governments over that period say the allegations, which they denied, was a ‘sick’ mud-slinging campaign fabricated by the leftist-led government.

PS Much ado about nothing….

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