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Turkish prosecutor opens investigation into Novartis: media

The prosecutor’s investigation was prompted by allegations reported in the press this week, Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper said on its website without giving a source.

Calls to both the chief prosecutor’s press office and the main switchboard were not answered.

Novartis has said the allegations against it were “unfounded” and based on a past complaint. The company had no further immediate comment, a spokesman said on Friday.

Reuters reported this week that an anonymous whistleblower accused the company of paying bribes through a consulting firm to secure an estimated $85 million in business advantages.

Turkey’s health ministry has opened a separate investigation into the allegations. A senior ministry official, Eyup Gumus, said on Friday that no problems have been seen in that initial investigation.

The anonymous whistleblower said Novartis had paid a government relations consultant the equivalent of $290,000 plus costs during 2013 and 2014, before the Turkish Social Security Institution launched an investigation in 2015, leading the drugmaker to end the association.

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