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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-01-03

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Kotzias to discuss Cyprus talks with UN envoy on Wednesday
  • [02] State arrears towards private sector lowered to 5.6 bln euros in November
  • [03] Prosecutors raid Novartis offices in Athens over bribery allegations
  • [04] Greek-German police operation underway to smash international cannabis smuggling ring

  • [01] Kotzias to discuss Cyprus talks with UN envoy on Wednesday

    Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias will meet the United Nations' Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the latest developments on the Cyprus issue, ahead of the crucial meeting in Geneva on January 12.

    [02] State arrears towards private sector lowered to 5.6 bln euros in November

    Greek state's arrears towards the private sector fell by 11.5 percent at the end of November to 5.603 billion, from 6.33 billion in October, the finance ministry said on Tuesday.

    From the total sum of arrears towards the private sector in November, 4.163 billion euros were overdue debts (versus 4.718 billion in October), while outstanding tax returns were 1.440 billion euros (versus 1.612 billion a month ago).

    The biggest arrears are owed by social security funds, which in November totaled 2.37 billion euros. Of these arrears, the state-run health insurer EOPYY owed 1.339 billion euros and the civil servants' fund owed 482 million euros.

    [03] Prosecutors raid Novartis offices in Athens over bribery allegations

    Corruption prosecutors raided the offices of Swiss drug maker Novartis in Athens a few days ago as part of an ongoing investigation over bribery allegations, sources told Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Tuesday.

    According to the same sources, the prosecutors requested a thorough search to gather electronic data and documents relating to the probe which was launched in Greece in mid-December. The investigation was ordered by the Supreme Court's prosecution after a file with media reports on bribery allegations was submitted by Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis. The reports claimed Novartis bribed doctors and public officials to boost prescriptions and company sales.

    Greek authorities have also requested the assistance of U.S. authorities which, along with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) first launched an investigation into the drug maker two years ago. According to the reports, two executives of Novartis in Greece had submitted to U.S. authorities hundreds of documents which prove payments to private doctors and doctors who work in the public healthcare system (more than 4,000 in total), in an effort to promote the company's products.

    The prosecution requested that U.S. authorities share any data pertaining to the Greek part of the scandal.

    [04] Greek-German police operation underway to smash international cannabis smuggling ring

    A major operation is currently underway by Greek and German police, the coast guard and Thessaloniki drug enforcement unit since Monday night in various regions of Greece and Germany to smash an international gang, trafficking large quantities of cannabis.

    According to Greek police, the criminal organization imported cannabis from Albania in trucks and then packaged a large quantity which they send to Germany and other EU countries. Three Greek citizens have so far been arrested in Igoumenitsa and one person in Germany, police said. Authorities also seized 216 kilos of raw cannabis and an international transport truck.

    The investigation and police operation continues and announcements will be made after they have concluded, police added.


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