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Article by the Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras published in the newspaper “Ta Nea”: A conspiracy with a specific political agenda

10/02/2018 - Articles & Interviews

From the evidence that I have seen concerning me in the case-file:

First, the testimonies are totally false. Never as Finance Minister have I taken any decision that would, directly or indirectly, have benefited Novartis. I challenge anyone to provide evidence to the contrary. The witnesses’ statements are incoherent, they do not know what they are talking about, they ignore the basic facts about the allocation of responsibilities in ministries. During my term as Finance Minister, severe measures were taken to reduce the pharmaceutical expenditure, which was more than halved compared to the previous period. Novartis was, of course, no exception to this.

Second, my wife has a transparent business activity, which began many years before I became minister. All of the company's activities are backed by legal documentation and invoices, and her income is disclosed in our joint tax returns and in the asset declarations I file. May I remind you of the raid of my wife's office by the financial crime police in September 2016, on the very day the Bank of Greece took a decision to change the board of directors of a certain bank. All her records were seized and examined, and nothing against her has been found for a year and a half now.

Third, the bribery allegations levelled by the witnesses against me are ridiculous, outrageous and defamatory and will be dealt with in court. I believe that the witnesses are probably being subject to extortion and have been instructed to slander me in this shameful manner. In other words, I do not think that it is the witnesses speaking here, but others who are speaking through the witnesses. Our income and assets are the ones we disclose in our asset declaration. We have no deposits abroad. All our deposits are with Greek banks.

Fourth, the conclusion that I draw from the above is that this is a case of conspiracy with a specific political agenda. This is not the first time that this is done against me during the last three years. May I remind you of the attacks against me in the first half of 2015, the attacks against my wife and me personally after the change of a certain bank's board of directors, and the recent scheme involving my asset declaration, which collapsed just a week later. I am not intimidated by the attacks, I will continue to do my job as Governor of the Bank of Greece the way it should be done. However, I do feel shame and disgust with this scheming that destroys the rule of law, tarnishes reputations and undermines the country’s prestige abroad.”

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