Update: No longer Dalligate but Barrosogate - Green MEP

Green MEPs José Bové and Bart Staes met the Prime Minister's chief of staff, home affairs minister Manuel Mallia and Commissioner of Police Peter-Paul Zammit to hand over the supervisory committee report, related to the resignation of former European Commissioner John Dalli. The damning report on OLAF was handed over to the Cabinet this afternoon.

The two MEPs are hosting a press conference in Valletta.

Back in March they also had published a recording of a conversation with a Swedish Match official which had revealed that an alleged meeting which implicated Dalli in a multi-million bribe to the company, had never taken place.

Dalli deposited the tape recording of the conversation between MEP Olivier Bové and two officials of Swedish Match, recorded the day before at Bové’s office at the European Parliament in Brussels. During this conversation, one of them, Johann Gabriellson, said that a meeting described by Swedish match lawyer, Gayle Kimberly, in which she claimed to have met with Zammit, who then asked for the money in return for a favorable directive, never in fact took place.

Now it is not excluded that the Belgian authorities will invite the various Commission officials involved, to testify.

The EU’s anti-fraud body, OLAF, has allegedly told Johan Gabrielsson, an official from the snus company Swedish Match, a key player in the John Dalli affair, to stick to his original story suggesting the former health commissioner accepted a bribe through an associate, despite knowing that a key witness, lawyer Gayle Kimberly, lied about the meeting, in which she alleged Dalli wanted a €60m pay-off to change the contents of the EU’s tobacco directive.

Dr. Gayle Kimberly, lied about a meeting central to the investigation, according to a representative of Swedish Match, the firm at the heart of the story. The Maltese police denied categorically any police officers involved in the investigations divulged content to the accused. According to these allegations Dr Kimberly lied under oath and that can be a case of purgery.

Johan Gabrielsson, an official from the snus company Swedish Match, told Green MEP José Bové that Dalli had never held a meeting with tobacco lobbyist Gayle Kimberley, contradicting the OLAF inquiry. The conversation was recorded by Bové and published by news portal New Europe.

In reposnse, OLAF issued a press release in order to clarify a number of allegations which are currently circulating about its investigation concerning the former Commissioner Dalli.

Bové and Staes have called on European Commission President José Barroso to explain the reasons behind the dismissal of John Dalli from the Commission, in the wake of a leaked report of the OLAF investigation that found no direct evidence of the former commissioner's involvement in an alleged bribe.

 "This report clearly shows that the OLAF investigation was unable to provide conclusive evidence of the direct involvement of the former European Commissioner John Dalli in the attempt to influence a bribe," the two MEPs have said.

Dalli was accused by OLAF director Giovanni Kessler of having been aware, going by circumstantial evidence of telephone toll records, that Silvio Zammit, a canvasser, was using the commissioner's name to solicit a €60 million bribe from Swedish Match to influence the reversal of a trading ban.

Bart Staes, vice-president of the budgetary control committee, said  the Greens MEPs said that with continuing controversy about the circumstances of former EU health commissioner Dalli's departure and new revelations about lobbying to the EU Commission (up to the highest level) in the context of the Tobacco Directive, they stressed the need to tighten rules on transparency and ethics, including the creation of a temporary committee in the European Parliament to this end.

This possibility will be discussed and debated on 10 January, at the Conference of Parliamentary Groups' Presidents and lobby other MEPs during the Strasbourg plenary.

MEP Bové  believes that the elements around the dismissal of the former Health Commissioner are troubling.

"The EU Commission's answers to MEPs' questions on the controversy are not acceptable. There are no clear responses and lack of transparency remains", he sustains.

Hinting that Dalli was not allowed to access the OLAF report, MEP Bart Staes said:

"It is impossible for us to reconstruct what actually happened. We have evidence that it was convenient for OLAF and the European Commission for Dalli to resign. But neither OLAF nor the European Commission are helping us to clarify the matter. And so there remain many inconsistencies in this story."

According to Staes, the parliament “is offering a way of doing the work” on pushing ahead with more transparency and openness in the EU institutions, to looks at the “anomalies” that appear to exist in the Dalli case, and so “tighten-up the rules”.

“We want to put a stop to this”, says Staes. “We don’t think it is right that a commissioner is fired, without any serious debate”.

See also: WATCH: Dalligate: A political "hot potato"

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Comments (3)

l fenech

- Wed 08-May-2013, 12:20

Prosit, forsi issa nibdew nisimghu in-naha l'ohra tad-diska.

Barroso u Kessler imisshom jirrizenjaw meta tohrog il-verita favur John Dalli.

mc

- Tue 07-May-2013, 21:35

Co-incidentally, how can somebodyexplain why were past canvassers and friends of Hon.John Dalli black listed, in Malta and by certain maltese authorities? Particularly striking when approvals went some devious ways through Castille?
These stories go back to 1998.
Maybe a certain vociferous meeting in Qormi between JD and ? in 1998 might be somewhere to start?
When the truth finally comes out 60 m Euro will not be enough to cover the vindicative costs...

Just asking

- Tue 07-May-2013, 17:31

Was Dalli dismissed because he was getting in the way of the tobacco lobby's kickbacks to other Commission members who feared losing their kickbacks if the tobacco directive went through as drafted by Dalli?

Just asking.

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