Greek prosecutor raids Novartis Athens offices in bribery probe

ATHENS, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Greek corruption prosecutors have raided the Athens offices of Swiss drug maker Novartis as part of an ongoing probe over bribery allegations after media reports, a court official told Reuters on Wednesday.

“In the framework of a judicial probe that was ordered in December, prosecutors raided the offices of Novartis over the last few days to search for possible bribery,” said the official, who declining to be identified.

The investigation was ordered after the country’s justice minister responded to media reports alleging bribes by Novartis to doctors and public officials.

“The prosecutors do not have any other evidence apart from the reports and have asked U.S. judicial authorities for assistance,” the court official said.

Novartis did not respond to a request for immediate comment.

The Swiss drug maker is fighting a widening lawsuit by U.S. prosecutors who allege its sales force ran a decade-long doctor kickback scheme involving sham events that led to overcharging the federal government.

The drugmaker has disputed the allegations, which were filed in 2013, but faces an investigation in Turkey after an anonymous whistleblower alleged the company paid bribes there through a consulting firm to secure business advantages worth an estimated $85 million.

In 2015 Novartis paid $390 million to settle U.S. allegations that it used kickbacks to speciality pharmacies to inappropriately push the sales of its drugs.

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Lefteris Papadimas; additional reporting by Michael Shields in Zurich; editing by Jason Neely