Wednesday

21st Nov 2018

Greek EU commissioner challenges bribery allegations

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European commissioner for migration, will mount a legal challenge over allegations he took bribes to help secure a lucrative contract for pharmaceutical company Novartis whilst a Greek minister.

The allegations, announced earlier this week by Greek prosecutors, stem from his time as minister of health in Athens between 2006 and 2009.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Avramopoulos was named along with a handful of former ministers, including two past prime ministers, for having taken a reported €50m in bribes from the Swiss drug giant.

On Friday (9 February), Avramopoulos announced he would take legal recourse to lift the anonymity of people behind the allegations, describing them as slanderous and without basis.

"This case does not touch me, does not relate to me," he was cited as saying in Greek media outlet Ekathimerini.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras appears to have also stepped into the foray.

His spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said Tsipras would be recommending that a parliament committee probe the claims.

The European Commission has declined to discuss the case openly, noting instead earlier this week that it had "nothing more to add" than what Avramopoulos had already said.

Trials and tribulations

But the potential fallout will likely have commission president Jean-Claude Juncker paying close attention.

The commission had barely managed to contain a scandal after German EU commissioner Guenther Oettinger had made racist, sexist, and homophobic remarks only to later fly on a German pro-Russia lobbyist's private jet to Hungary.

Those embarrassments were more or less swept away given that Oettinger was then handed the powerful budget commissioner portfolio, a step up from his previous post under Juncker as digital economy chief.

The scope of the budget commission tasks includes making sure EU officials behave well.

Juncker's predecessor as president Jose Manuel Barroso also had his own scandal.

In October 2012, he fired the Maltese commissioner for health John Dalli following "unambiguous and converging circumstantial evidence" of an attempted bribe.

The Dalli case stemmed from a five-month investigation by the EU's anti-fraud office Olaf, which had later come under fire given charges of illegal wire-tapping.

Barroso at the time said he had to relieve Dalli because he had become politically untenable.

Investigation

Part I: From Peppi’s to Barroso’s

Part I of VIII: EUobserver takes a closer look at the Barroso commission's biggest scandal - tobacco lobbying and John Dalli - in events some say will haunt the EU "for the next 10 years".

Deutsche Bank dragged into Danish bank scandal

Deutsche Bank, Germany's top lender, handled about €130bn of the "suspicious" money in the Danske Bank affair, new revelations show, as whistleblower testifies to MEPs.

News in Brief

  1. Interpol rejects Russian candidate after outcry
  2. Investors seek compensation for Danske Bank losses
  3. Analysis: one-in-four Europeans vote populist
  4. Italy moves to seize Aquarius for illegal waste disposal
  5. EU parliament approves Italian to check European banks
  6. EU agrees tightening rules on foreign strategic investment
  7. Soros' foundation demands apology from Facebook
  8. Hungary grants asylum to ex-Macedonia PM

Opinion

Interpol, China and the EU

China joins a long list of countries - including Russia - accused of abusing Interpol's 'Red Notice' system to harras activists and dissidents.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  9. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  10. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  11. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue

Latest News

  1. Deutsche Bank dragged into Danish bank scandal
  2. New EU human rights sanctions to focus on Africa
  3. Boycott threats mount on eve of Interpol election
  4. EU parliament to renege on transparency promises
  5. Cyprus and Greece to create EU spy academy
  6. MEPs likely to delay vote on greater transparency
  7. Cold shoulder for Franco-German euro budget plan
  8. Whistleblower: Danske Bank gag stops me telling more

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us