Tzanakopoulos: ND and Samaras must explain new evidence in Novartis case

Main opposition New Democracy is only interested in covering up, not investigating, the Novartis case, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos asserted on Wednesday, during the regular press briefing.

The parliamentary committee investigating the case was daily hearing evidence that disproved ND’s groundless claims of a plot, Tzanakopoulos added, while the reasons that ND voted against its formation were becoming increasingly clear.

He called on the main opposition and the associates of the former prime minister Antonis Samaras to give explanations for the new evidence regarding an alleged note from Samaras to a former Novartis executive that had come to light, rather than trying to intimidate the protected witnesses.

Talking about the recent events that led to the suspension of Greece’s premier league football championship, Tzanakopoulos noted the government’s determination “to clash with the organised interests and criminal gangs preying on Greek football from the first,” and put a stop to the things that previous governments had either tolerated or actively bred through their ties with specific business interests.

Among the steps taken, he said, were the appointment of regular judges to deal with sports cases, the harmonisation of the charter of the Greek football federation (EPO) with Greek law and FIFA/UEFA standards, a stricter framework for dealing with supporter violence, as well as action to promote transparency and fairness during games through close cooperation between the Greek state and FIFA and UEFA to end control of referees by clubs and tighter control of club finances.

In spite of this, Tzanakopoulos noted, the result showed that the measures taken were insufficient and he stressed that the government will not shy from making tough decisions about the future of Greek football but accept the political cost without a second thought.

“We are ready, with the valuable and essential assistance of FIFA, to put an end to phenomena that blacken the image of Greek football and the country worldwide,” he said.

Commenting on the case of the two Greek soldiers held in Turkey, the spokesman said that the government’s primary concern from the first moment has been to ensure their return as soon as possible.

“In this framework, we are taking all the required diplomatic initiatives in order to ensure a swift return of the two officers to our country,” Tzanakopoulos said.