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  • Cast of key characters in the Novartis affair

    In the case of one of the eight former ministers, who deny any involvement in the matter, investigators appear to have pinpointed 'a favourable decision of his' that benefited the company.

    ΤοΒΗΜΑ Team

    By Vasilis Lambropoulos

    The advisor of a top governmental official five years ago, who was responsible for internet-related issues, is depicted as the “middleman” in relations between the pharmaceutical giant Novartis and the top politician, according to the judicial files sent to parliament by the Supreme Court prosecutor, To Vima has learned.

    This is the first time that the name of the said advisor has arisen, though the validity of the related references cannot be corroborated.

    Moreover, as regards the alleged role of the political figure as manager of large sums from Novartis, one finds the name of a lawyer, who in the past has been involved in cases pertaining to offshore companies.

    According to the same sources, another significant political figure, whose name was just yesterday mentioned in connection to the scandal, appears to be “implicated” by virtue of appointing a former MP and associate of his to the National Organisation for Medicines. Last November, the Economic Police searched the former MPs home, though it is not known whether incriminating evidence was found.

    In the case of one of the eight former ministers, who deny any involvement in the matter, investigators appear to have pinpointed “a favourable decision of his” that benefited the company. They also found allegedly suspect transactions of a close relative of his.

    As regards the denial of one political figure, who said he had “no authority over drug pricing”, individuals connected with the judiciary noted that the issue with the said politician was not drugs pricing, but rather a matter linked to vaccines and blood tests, though the specific circumstances have not been clarified.

    Finding the formula

    It should be noted that a main issue for the investigators of the Novartis case is the mathematical formula on the basis of which the price of drugs was set in Greece – which served as a point of reference for determining prices in over two dozen other countries – and determining the role of the aforementioned health ministry advisor.

    Finally, American officials have reportedly expressed consternation over provisions in Greek law which oblige judicial functionaries to inform and receive the permission of parliament to pursue a probe of political figures, when their names appear in a case file, as this increases the likelihood of leaks from a case in which there is an ongoing FBI investigation.

    International