Georgiadis on Novartis: ‘I don’t want to hide behind the statute of limitations’

Taking the stand during the debate on the Novartis case in Parliament on Wednesday, main opposition New Democracy’s Vice President Adonis Georgiadis told MPs that he wanted his “day in court” and a chance to clear his name, regardless of whether the crimes for which he was accused were statute-barred.

“We talk about the presumption of innocence but for politicians it is the presumption of guilt that holds, since all citizens believe that politicians are on the take. I shall have to work very hard in my life to lift this shadow,” Georgiadis said.

He expressed objections to the majority’s proposal that the offence of breach of trust be statute-barred, suggesting that this was done for Shipping Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis.

“I request in writing that I should be tried and not hide behind the statute of limitations,” he said, asking that Kouroumblis also do the same.

He denied the charges against him, noting that the first could be quickly debunked by looking at the payments made by EOPYY during his term while the second had not been within his remit but that of the deputy minister.

“Is the competence of the public prosecutor called into question?” he asked, addressing Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis.

Noting that SYRIZA had voted against all measures reducing spending on pharmaceuticals when in the opposition, Georgiadis talked of a “plot” and noted that half the present cabinet had announced the Novartis case in advance, accusing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Alternate Justice Minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos. He also accused the General Inspector for Public Administration Maria Papaspyrou of “burying” a report on the death of a four-year-old girl on Crete during a surgical operation, in which one of the doctors was a relative of Deputy Health Minister Pavlos Polakis.

He accused Papangelopoulos of making “daily telephone calls” to the Corruption Prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki in order to be briefed on the progress of the witness testimony, asking Kontonis to give access to the minister’s phone records so that the truth might be revealed.