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OLAF chief denies involvement in ‘secret chats’, MaltaToday replies

OLAF chief Giovanni Kessler denies having engaged in correspondence of ‘secret chats’ surrounding the Dalli case.

Staff Reporter
21 June 2013, 12:00am
OLAF chief Giovanni Kessler.
OLAF chief Giovanni Kessler.


The director-general of the EU's anti-fraud office Giovanni Kessler has denied involvement in a series of online chats and email exchanges on 15 October 2012, the day in which Kessler, head of the European Anti-Fraud Office, OLAF, handed over the Dalli report to European Commission President Manuel Jose Barroso.

MaltaToday on Wednesday revealed correspondence that allegedly show high-ranking officials at the Office of the Prime Minister and the Representation of the European Commission in Valletta, discuss John Dalli between March and October 2012.

Among the persons who discussed Dalli in the secret chats, one person chatting from the Office of the Prime Minister on a Samsung device was named 'L.O.U.I.S' while another person was named 'DR. GK'.

Both Kessler and Maltese lawyer Gayle Kimberly have the initials GK and in one excerpt L.O.U.I.S. writes to GK in broken Italian.

In a right of reply, Giovanni Kessler however denied he had ever engaged in the correspondence referred to in the article.

"This article insinuates that I engaged in correspondence in the context of "secret chats" surrounding the Dalli case. These insinuations are completely false. I have never engaged in the correspondence referred to in this article," Kessler said.

Kessler went on to accuse MaltaToday of "systematically presenting inaccurate or distorted information concerning me, OLAF and its investigation concerning the Dalli case".

"I therefore reserve my right to have recourse to any legal action available in order to defend my reputation and that of OLAF," Kessler said.

Replying to Kessler's letter, Managing Editor Saviour Balzan said MaltaToday always resorted to reporting facts, including the fact that the Maltese Police Commissioner stated that if he had acted in the way Kessler did, he would have been kicked out of his job. 

The Police Commissioner said this in an interview on German TV.

"I take pride in being part of the free press which respects the judicial concept were one is presumed innocent until found guilty.  Unfortunately, or perhaps not, throughout your public announcements and in OLAF you focused on proving something which you cannot prove," Balzan said.

He said that in Malta, people were scandalized by Kessler's "disdain" for the democratic structures, namely the Euro parliamentarians who have called on Kessler to resign.  

"We are surprised to say the least at you

r arrogance in refusing to resign.  Never has the EU suffered such a downward spiral in ethical standards," Balzan said.

"In your crusade against Mr John Dalli you have not only tarnished the reputation of the Commissioner but also Malta's reputation. I would expect the Maltese authorities to take umbrage at your actions."

Balzan said Malta was a country which practiced democracy and engaged in the freedom to express one's opinion.

"Your organization has served to diminish the 'perception' that a fair and equitable investigation into allegations is possible and moreover has added a new dimension in investigative procedures based on the warped concept of circumstantial evidence," he concluded.



Saviour Balzan's reply reproduced in its entirety:

Dear Mr Kessler,

Thank you your clarification, which will be reported on our website and newspaper. I am amused, to say the least, that you accuse us of insinuations when throughout your public declaration and investigations you sought to base your accusations on circumstantial evidence.

We have reported the facts, including that the Commissioner of Police in Malta stated that if he had acted in the way you did, he would have been sacked from his job. He said this during an interview on German TV.

I take pride in being part of the free press which respects the judicial concept where one is presumed innocent until found guilty. Unfortunately (or perhaps not), throughout your public announcements and in the OLAF report you focused on proving something which you cannot prove.

Here in Malta we are scandalised by your disdain for democratic structures, namely the Europarliamentarians who have called on you to resign. We are surprised, to say the least, at your arrogance in refusing to resign. Never has the EU suffered such a downward spiral in ethical standards.

In your crusade against Mr John Dalli, you have not only tarnished the reputation of the Commissioner, but Malta's reputation too. And I would expect the Maltese authorities to take umbrage at your actions.

I live in a country which practices democracy and engages in the freedom to express one's opinion, and where our ethical standards seem to be higher than those of Brussels, and where justice is possible (and, hopefully, fair), and where prosecutors do their job.

Your organisation has served to diminish the 'perception' that a fair and equitable investigation into allegations is possible and moreover, has added a new dimension in investigative procedures based on the warped concept of circumstantial evidence.

Saviour Balzan,

Managing Editor

MaltaToday
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Mr. Barroso should ask and expect Mr. Kessler to resign immediately just as he asked and expected Mr. Dalli to do or else face the same consequences he threathened Mr Dalli with
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Joseph Borg
If this issue is going to remain a domestic affair, it is going to end here. The authorities should hire their own international correspondents to cover our local affairs to the international scene
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M. A. Farrugia
Anki Malta, li m'għandniex kultura tar-riżenji, wara bawxata bħal din kien ikollu jirreżenja. L-evidenza ċirkustanzjali daret fuqu issa u se jaqa' hu fid-difensiv.
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Well done Mr Balzan for defending Malta's image and all the other media should be behind you on this. This guy thinks he is God and your reply was superb. In the name of all Maltese I thank you.
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Well done MaltaToday. You are on the path of righteousness and those who abused the trust of the European people should long have had the decency to resign, let alone keep insisting that the wrong they have perpetrated on Commissioner Dalli was justified. No wonder Berlusconi is so vociferous against the Italian Magistrature - I am starting to see that he has been right after all.!!!!
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George Muscat
OLAF chief Giovanni Kessler denies having engaged in correspondence of ‘secret chats’ surrounding the Dalli case....... 1. Giovanni Kessler isn't saying there weren't secret chats. 2. In Mr Dalli's case nothing was proven and evthing was done on suppositions. 3. Giovanni Kessler should resign because he amdits that there "secret chats" but he is saying he wasn't involved. He should have spoken and uncover the plot against Mr John Dalli. 4. I was always scared of "Might is Right" and Malta being so small no one give a "sh.t" about us even those in the EU. If they did the first thing they should have done was to share the burden of the illegal emigration. 5. Because nothing is clear like they said in the Dalli case, Barroso and Kessler should resign with immediate effect. You can't preach democracy and you the first ones not to practice it. I was one who voted against joining the EU and nearly after 10 years, I still believe that we made a very wrong decision. I won't ever vote for the EU in any Matter whatsoever. BAIL US OUT
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Someone should be held responsible for this whole fiasco, I will not be dragged in such controversy, but surely the editor knows what he's talking about. The OPM should end this saga & put all facts for the disposition of all concern & the truth should come out to clear Malta's image & whoever is innocent until proven guilty!!
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Saviour, high five!! love your reply to this big-headed puppet
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Shaun Grech
When a person become greater than the organization he represents, it means it is time to leave. GK has been embroiled in this DALLIGATE for more than 9 months and it is evident that he has been defending his work during this period. AS DG of OLAF he cannot undertake further his responsibilities and I am quite certain that the affair has distracted him from honouring his responsibilities in OLAF. Hence the most honourable thing to do is to retire and give way to a new DG to be appointed as soon as possible so that OLAF can regain its trust from the citizens of Europe. If GK has no means to support himself, the EU should give him another position in an Directorate that he will not die of hunger.