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GREECE’S government asked parliament late yesterday to begin a probe into 10 former senior officials, including two prime ministers, for alleged money-laundering in connection with a major pharmaceutical bribery scandal.
In its formal request to MPs, the Syriza-led government cited testimony from a judicial investigation into bribes that Swiss drug-maker Novartis allegedly paid for years to boost sales and prices of its products at government hospitals.
The probe, which would target several high-ranking opposition figures, has been branded by the opposition as the government’s attempt to use the judiciary for political ends.
Greek law requires that parliament review allegations against MPs before they can be charged.
The government has run out of time to pursue bribery and breach-of-duty charges, but money-laundering is still on the table.
Those allegedly in the frame include current Bank of Greece governor Yannis Stournaras, EU home affairs commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, a former health minister, former conservative prime minister Antonis Samaras and Panagiotos Pikramenos, a judge and former caretaker prime minister. All deny the allegations.
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