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Greek former minister charged over pharmaceutical probe

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's parliament voted late Wednesday to charge a former deputy justice minister over allegations he sought to incriminate political opponents in a purported pharmaceutical bribery scandal.

A total 177 out of 300 lawmakers in the center-right-dominated house voted to bring charges against Dimitris Papangelopoulos that include breach of duty and incitement to criminal abuse of office. He denies any wrongdoing.

Under Greek law, current and former government officials can be charged only if parliament lifts their immunity from prosecution. The case is then handled by senior judges. The charges against Papangelopoulos refer to an investigation into purported allegations that Swiss drugmaker Novartis paid bribes to boost the sales and prices of its products in Greece.

In 2018, when the left-wing government that Papangelopoulos served in was in power, parliament ordered an investigation into 10 senior opposition officials, including a former conservative prime minister and the current governor of Greece’s central bank. The subsequent probe found insufficient evidence to support their indictment.

All 10 officials denied wrongdoing, accusing the left-wing Syriza party that is now in opposition of trying to smear them and to pervert the course of justice.

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