Maniadakis, witness in Novartis case, probed for money-laundering

The Corruption Prosecutor has launched a money-laundering investigation of School of Public Health Professor Nikos Maniadakis, who until recently had been a protected witness in the judicial case regarding kickbacks from the pharmaceuticals giant Novartis.

Maniadakis has already been charged with bribe-taking based on recent testimony of another protected witness (who remains in the programme).

The money-laundering charge is reportedly linked to an older, outstanding problem regarding undeclared assets that Maniadakis had with the tax bureau, for which he reportedly paid a fine of nearly 500,000 euros.

Theodoros Mantas, Maniadakis’ lawyer, is attempting to deconstruct the case against his client, arguing that there is no evidence of a bribe and that the testimony against him offered by the other witness is vague and proves nothing.
Maniadakis’ lawyers also object to their client being charged under a draconian 1950 law regarding public sector embezzlement.

They maintain that Maniadakis was an informal advisor to health ministers and never held any public sector position.

The ex-minister’s bank accounts

Sources in the Prosecutor’s Office denied a press report that the Corruption Prosecutor at a meeting with FBI officials in Vienna refused to receive evidence regarding the bank accounts of an ex-minister who has been implicated in the Novartis affair.

In any event, the supervisor of the Office of the Corruption Prosecutor, Deputy Supreme Court Prosecutor Ioannis Angelis (who was present at the meeting) is said to have requested of the American delegation that any exchange of evidence be conducted in the most formal institutional manner, through Eurojust.

That may occur very swiftly, as the Greek side will send to competent authorities a request to hold another meeting at The Hague, in The Netherlands, under the auspices of Eurojust.

Many are waiting to see what will be done with the report about the Vienna meeting that Angelis submitted to Supreme Court Prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou, who appears to have decided to investigate what exactly transpired.

Probe of politicians continues

Judicial sources have underlined that the Corruption Prosecutor is continuing the investigation of 10 politicians whose names arose in the judicial file, with a view to filing charges against whomever there is evidence of crimes having been committed and closing the case for the others.

The immediate priority is completing the first segment of the case with evidence gathered for the period up to 2012, when the re-pricing of medicines began in Greece.

Prosecutors have been burdened with a huge amount of evidence in the Novartis case, including documents seized in a raid of Novartis Hellas offices and more recently evidence acquired from another company headquartered in Aspropyrgos, which acted as an advisor to Novartis.

Sources in the Prosecutor’s Office say that even 100 experts would not be enough to evaluate the huge amount of data.

Moreover, there are a number of outstanding requests for judicial assistance that have not yet been processed.