There are six protected witness in the Novartis kickbacks probe, three in Greece and the US, according to Pavlos Sarakis, the attorney for the three witnesses in the US.
Sarakis told Thema radio in Athens that he represents three clients who have filed documents with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and that hey are not the same three witnesses whose testimony is included in the file transmitted to the Greek parliament.
The three have not been deposed by Greek authorities, which are unaware of their identity, as they are in a witness protection programmme in the US.
“In my estimation, the three witnesses who testified before Greek authorities are among those named by the other three witnesses in the US, who testified about employees who were on the take,” Sarakis said.
Two of the witnesses in the US testified before American authorities in August, 2016, and the third in October, 2017.
The earlier deposition cited the politicians listed in the file transmitted to the Greek parliament.
“The court file cites political figures who took decisions that benefited the company [Novartis]. My clients pinpointed political decisions which were cited in the Government Gazette, with the pricing of drugs,” the lawyer asserted.
Sarakis said that for the US to grant protected witness status it must be clear that the judicial documents filed are well-grounded. “A conviction certainly requires more evidence, but prosecution can be launched on the basis of indications,” he added.
Asked why his clients went to the US criminal justice system, he said they knew that the American justice system has authority over listed companies in the US.
“My clients are not known to Greek authorities, but if they are summoned they are obliged to reiterate what they told US authorities,” as long as their safety is guaranteed,” Sarakis said when asked if his clients would testify before parliament.
Sarakis told NET state television that the Greek probe began when, based on a December, 2016 leak, Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis filed a judicial assistance request with US authorities.”
“I think they [Americans] have given all they have. The US is saying that they are handing over the evidence, but it must not be leaked and the case must be prosecuted until the end,” Sarakis said.