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Greek Parliament charged ex SYRIZA minister over Novartis probe

Greek Parliament voted late on Wednesday to charge former SYRIZA Alternate Justice Minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos over allegations that he sought to incriminate political opponents in the purported Novartis pharmaceutical bribery scandal.

117 MPs from ruling New Democracy and opposition KINAL/PASOK voted to bring charges against Papangelopoulos that include breach of duty, criminal abuse of power, obstruction of justice and forming a criminal organization.

A supreme court tribunal will decide if Papangelopoulos will be tried in a special court.

The former minister denies any wrongdoing.

SYRIZA lawmakers walked out from the plenary before the vote started in protest.

Under Greek law, current and former government officials can be charged only if parliament lifts their immunity from prosecution. The case is then handled by senior judges.

The charges against Papangelopoulos refer to an investigation into purported allegations that Swiss drugmaker Novartis paid bribes to boost the sales and prices of its products in Greece.

In 2018, when the left-wing government that Papangelopoulos served in was in power, parliament ordered an investigation into 10 senior opposition officials, including a former conservative prime minister and the current governor of Greece’s central bank. The subsequent probe found insufficient evidence to support their indictment.

All 10 officials denied wrongdoing, accusing the left-wing Syriza party that is now in opposition of trying to smear them and to pervert the course of justice. (with AP)

PS ND and KINAL are seeking to find out the 3 MPs who cast an “invalid” vote last night.

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