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  • Syriza mulling parliamentary preliminary criminal probe on Novartis

    While all the possible scenarios were reviewed, including sending the file back to the judiciary, sources say that the government is leaning toward the creation of a parliamentary preliminary criminal investigation.

    ΤοΒΗΜΑ Team

    The procedures to be handled by parliament in dealing with the Novartis affair were discussed in a meeting of the Political Council of the ruling Syriza party, chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday night.

    While all the possible scenarios were reviewed, including sending the file back to the judiciary, sources say that the government is leaning toward the creation of a parliamentary preliminary criminal investigation.

    That is a step beyond a simply investigative committee, as MPs will be invested with the powers of an investigating magistrate, including the power to issue subpoenas.

    For the former prime ministers and ministers whose names appear in the case file, which provides no certainty that the allegations of witnesses are true, the potential crime of bribe taking cannot be prosecuted, because a special, truncated statute of limitations that applies to former ministers has expired.

    The committee could, however, prosecute political figures on the charge of money laundering, if there is such evidence, as there is no statute of limitations on that particular crime.

    Tsipras will convene his party’s parliamentary group on 12 February in order to make the final decision.

    According to a report on Greek Skai television, the Corruption Prosecutor who is handling the investigation is seeking out companies abroad that may be linked to individuals implicated in the case, as well as the possible assets of those individuals abroad.

    Judicial authorities believe that the case file will be sent back to them by parliament, due to the statute of limitations issue, and that this will allow them to investigate the possible money trail that could support money-laundering charges.

    International