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Novartis scandal: Prosecutor drops probe into BoG governor Stournaras

A prosecutor dropped the probe into governor of the Bank of Greece, Yannis Stournaras, after finding no evidence linking him to claims by the former government in connection with the Novartis bribes scandal.

The shelving Thursday of a legal suit against him involving Swiss drugmaker Novartis, officially ended a “brazen procedure of slander and character assassination… after a 20-month delay,” Stournaras said.

“It is now up to the competent institutions (Parliament, the judiciary) to reveal the real culprits behind this miserable plot, as well as their accomplices,” he said after Greece’s top corruption prosecutor, Eleni Touloupaki, shut the case.

Stournaras is the seventh high-ranking official to be cleared out of an initial 10 who had been implicated in the case, including former prime ministers Antonis Samaras and Panagiotis Pikrammenos, and ex-socialist minister Evangelos Venizelos.

Despite the absence of evidence to back claims of illegal money transfers after an investigation that dragged on for more than three years, it took several months to shelve those cases.

However, the case still remains open for Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis, European Union commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and former PASOK minister Andreas Loverdos.

With regard to the latter, Touloupaki sent his case file to Parliament Thursday so as to receive approval to conduct a probe into bribery charges against him.

In response, Loverdos issued a scathing statement that the move by the prosecutor was an “obvious attempt to justify, after the fact, the illegal actions committed over three years in the context of the Novartis conspiracy.”

“I have the truth, honesty and the support of the people on my side, desperate and atrocious actions cannot touch me,” he said.

Greece’s SYRIZA administration had sought to portray the case as the “biggest scandal since the establishment of the Greek state.” New Democracy, which unseated SYRIZA in July, has deplored it as the biggest frame-up ever concocted by a Greek government against its political opponents. [kathimerini]

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