Greek Court Acquits Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki
A Greek court found former anti-corruption prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki not guilty of dereliction of duty and abuse of power which she was accused of after her investigation into bribes paid by Swiss pharmaceutical producer Novartis to Greek top officials touched political allies of PM Kyriacos Mitsotakis.
Touloupaki was removed from the case after Mitsotakis’ party Nea Demokratia came to power in 2019.
She was initially referred to trial together with two other colleagues and a group of journalists who reported about the Novartis bribes for allegedly being a member of a criminal organization, but prosecutors dropped those charges last year.
“With its ruling, the Special Court has restored the truth,” Touloupaki said in a statement after the court announcement on Saturday. “Those who attempted to bend the free spirit of the servants of Justice, were aiming at nothing less than the right of acting arbitrarily without limits.”
“An upstanding justice means an upstanding Greece,” she continued and promised that she “will remain upstanding.”
Former justice minister Demetris Papangelopoulos was also acquitted of instigating Touloupaki but was found guilty of unrelated misdemeanor charges and was sentenced to a 10,000 euros fine.
In 2020, Novartis acknowledged the payment of kickbacks to Greek doctors and politicians as part of an attempt to inflate the price of its products worldwide. The confession was part of a settlement worth US$347 million which Novartis paid to the United States for having violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that bars companies that operate in the U.S. from paying bribes abroad.
Touloupaki is expected to meet on Tuesday a delegation of members of the Committee of Civil Liberties (LIBE) of the European Parliament who are visiting Greece to investigate the situation in the country concerning the rule of law, the fight against corruption and the freedom of the press.
LIBE invited the embattled prosecutor in April to report about the state of the rule of law in Greece.
Although prosecutors found that large amounts of cash were deposited on bank accounts of two members of Nea Demokratia who were implicated in the Novartis probe - including minister of health Adonis Georgiades - they dropped the cases against them last year.