Novartis committee chairman Th. Dritsas in favor of regular court investigation

The chairman of Parliament’s preliminary committee on Novartis said on Wednesday that the case of alleged bribery and money laundering should be turned over to regular justice, following a crisis generated by the opposition’s recent walkout that could prove beneficial.

“This (walkout) crisis that recognizes the jurisdiction of regular courts of justice complies with the constitution and laws, and guarantees the possibility that plenty of light will be shed on the case,” committee chairman Thodoros Dritsas said.

Two former prime ministers and eight former ministers were named by Parliament as persons of interest. Most refused a summons to testify at the committee after learning they were expected to also provide an opinion on the committee’s competence to investigate them.

According to Greek laws and ministerial immunity laws, former ministers can be investigated for dereliction of duty by Parliament but not for money laundering.

Dritsas added that “the potential competence of Parliament itself according to Constitution Article 86 would lead to a write-off for all charges: that is, to obfuscation and indiscriminate punishment.”

The committee is meeting again at 6:00 pm. on April 24 to approve its final report, which will then be submitted to the plenary through Parliament’s president.