Greece mulls damages claim over drugmaker bribe scandal

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s government said Friday that it is planning to seek damages from Swiss drugmaker Novartis following a settlement in the United States over bribery allegations.

The settlement worth more than $345 million was announced Thursday by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States, which said that “improper payments” had also been made in South Korea, Vietnam, and Greece to boost sales of its drugs to public and private healthcare providers.

The bribery allegations triggered a major political dispute in Greece over the potential involvement of senior politicians.

In 2018, parliament ordered an investigation into 10 senior officials including a former conservative prime minister and the incumbent governor of Greece’s central bank. But the subsequent probe found insufficient evidence to support their indictment.

Parliament is currently investigating a former deputy justice minister over allegations that he sought to incriminate political rivals in the Novartis bribery scandal, a claim he denies.