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John Dalli welcomes ‘closure of malevolent and defamatory case’

Former EU commissioner to proceed with defamation case against Swedish Match and ECJ action to annul Barroso decision.

10 June 2013, 12:00am
John Dalli said he will restore his integrity as well as Malta’s name at an international level.
John Dalli said he will restore his integrity as well as Malta’s name at an international level.


Former European Commissioner John Dalli yesterday welcomed a statement from Commissioner of Police Peter-Paul Zammit, who declared that no evidence existed to warrant the arraignment of Dalli on alleged trading in influence or corruption on the basis of the OLAF report's findings.

Dalli has been questioned by the Maltese police in December 2012, after it was alleged by OLAF director Giovanni Kessler that "unambiguous circumstantial evidence" existed that Dalli was aware of a €60 million bribe to relax tobacco laws.

The bribe was allegedly requested by Dalli's political canvasser Silvio Zammit, who today stands charged with trading in influence, corruption and money laundering, to Swedish Match director Johan Gabrielsson and their Maltese lobbyist Gayle Kimberley.

"The statement issued by the Police Commissioner is a closure of a malevolent and defamatory case in my regard, which has damaged Malta's image worldwide," Dalli told MaltaToday.

"After months of anguish caused mainly by politically motivated leaks in the press just before and during the election campaign, I can now concentrate on fully restoring my integrity as well as Malta's name at an international level, which is of the utmost importance," Dalli said.

The former commissioner said he will proceed with court action he instituted last December in the Belgian Criminal Court in a case for defamation against Swedish Match "for maliciously spreading fabricated information", and another in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg for the annulment of President José Barroso's decision to terminate his term as European Commissioner.

Barroso had told Dalli to resign on 16 October 2012 - four days after having set the date for an appointment - when he read out the covering letter to OLAF's investigative report. The report only saw the light of day six months after when MaltaToday published a leak version.

"President Barroso based his decision on the OLAF report which is now being heavily criticised for breaching both human rights and normal rules of investigation and procedure," Dalli told MaltaToday. "This report has also been heavily criticised by the Supervisory Committee set up to scrutinise OLAF's procedures. I am also presently considering other procedures that I may present in the Maltese Courts and in foreign courts. My family and I can now recover from this ordeal and start rebuilding our life. We thank all those, in Malta and abroad, who have shown solidarity with us, especially those who actively gave us much needed support."

One of OLAF's foremost critics, MEP Inge Graessle, the coordinator of the EPP Group in the Budgetary Control Committee, said the admission by the Maltese police amounts to "a declaration of bankruptcy" for the work of OLAF director-general Giovanni Kessler, who personally led the investigation against John Dalli.

"It appears the EU's anti-fraud office OLAF has no criminal evidence against John Dalli. The alleged 'circumstantial evidence' gathered by Kessler against John Dalli is now laid bare as unfounded suspicion without legal substance.

"The announcement by the police on Malta is testimony of the unprofessional work of OLAF's director-general, who disregarded internal standards for investigations and, according to the Supervisory Committee, was in breach of EU law.

"OLAF Director-General Kessler must now give detailed testimony to the European Parliament's Budgetary Control Committee about his dubious investigation methods and his obviously false statements on the Dalli case," Graessle said.

 
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I am so glad that truth has finally won over the evil perpetrators of yet another frame up - as good as any the PN clique managed to orchestrate, this time with the deliberate help of Barroso's office and that of OLAF. I am so glad that John Dalli and his family can have some reasonable closure although the hurt and the injustice of it all can never be forgotten. I wish John Dalli and his family peace and tranquillity and that justice will now prevail