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Parliament committee to probe ex SYRIZA Minister over Novartis handling

New Democracy has decided to propose an ad hoc parliamentary committee to investigate the actions of former Alternate Justice Minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos (SYRIZA) in connection with the Novartis probe. The ex minister speaks of “political persecution.”

The ruling party has also decided to avoid investigation into former Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, after current Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said he will not persecute his political opponents.

“Simply reading the evidence in the case file shows there are clear indications of illegitimate intervention by Mr. Dimitrios Papangelopoulos in justice,” ND Parliamentary group secretary Stavros Kalafatis said on Wendesday.

Kalafatis said that the ad hoc parliamentary probe that will conduct the preliminary investigation into Papangelopoulos will determine whether parliament is competent to press criminal charges for the offenses being investigated. If the committee concludes that this is the case, it will proceed with a legal evaluation and present its report to the plenary.

Witnesses testifying in connection with the Novartis investigation have accused Papangelopoulos of putting pressure on justices investigating the Novartis bribery scandal involving the Swiss pharmaceutical company in order to incriminate political rivals.

Several former prime and health ministers were accused of being in connection with the  Novartis, however, prosecutors sent the case for the majority of them to the archives and cleared them of the accusations.

Papangelopoulos said there was no evidence to prosecute him.

“This is an unprecedented attempt at a vengeful political persecution. The absence of any proof in the case file against me and against [former PM] Alexis Tsipras make this sordidness ridiculous,” he said in a statement.

He added that the government was trying to “hide the truth” and “distract the Greek public in order to conceal the serious responsibilities not just in the Novartis scandal, but also in its investigation.”

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