The European Commission said former European Commissioner John Dalli has still not seen the OLAF report with allegations against him because the Maltese Attorney General has decided not to show it to him.
The news website Europolitics.info reports that it has been two weeks since John Dalli was forced to resign in the wake of a tobacco corruption scandal, but the former EU health commissioner has still not been given access to the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) report alleging his guilt.
The European Commission has confirmed that this decision comes from the Maltese prosecutor general. «The Commission has neither the legal competency nor the will to publish these conclusions,» said a Commission spokesman on 26 October. He explained that the Commission does not wish to compromise the principle of presumption of innocence. Moreover, it is legally not allowed to divulge the conclusions of an OLAF inquiry.
Therefore, two weeks after his resignation, Dalli still does not know the details of the ‘circumstantial evidence’ which apparently incriminated him. He now plans to work with his legal team to lodge a complaint with a competent jurisdiction, invoking non-respect of his rights, although he clarified on 28 October that «no decision has yet been made».
According to the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice, a European civil servant can be refused access to institutional documents «if divulging the documents in question would threaten the execution of inspection, inquiry or audit activities (article 4 of regulation no. 1049/2001).» Nonetheless, the judgement of the Court in the Blanchet/Byk vs. the Commission case (T-48/05) remains vague as regards OLAF’s final reports. It states that «none of the obligations resulting from Article 4 of Decision 1999/396 is material to that question. As regards the inter parties principle, the existence of an illegality with regard to OLAF can be established only where the final report is published or in so far as it is followed by the adoption of an act adversely affecting the person concerned.»
Europolitics.info also reports on the alleged lobbying of German politicians Edmund Stoiber on behalf of a German tobacco company on John Dalli.
The website said John Dalli denies having been pressurised by a high-level group of experts on the reduction of administrative charges, as alleged by Euractiv.com. The news website said in an article published on 26 October that the president of the high-level group of experts on reducing administrative charges and a Bavarian politician, Edmund Stoiber, pressurised Dalli over the tobacco directive. «Stoiber intervened on behalf of a snuff producer during a meeting of the high-level group in May, 2012,» Euractiv.com said. However, questioned by Europolitics, Dalli denied the allegations: «I made a comment about Stoiber’s intervention which I did not consider as a lobbying attempt but as a politician bringing forward concerns of someone in his constituency. I replied in an appropriate manner as I did on all the occasions when I was confronted with questions about tobacco issues.»