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[READ] Email shows smokeless tobacco lobby asked Zammit to set up meeting with Dalli

Email shows contact with former PN councillor Silvio Zammit as recently as March 2012.

Matthew Vella
17 October 2012, 12:00am
Silvio Zammit was in contact with both Swedish Match in 2011 and then with ESTOC, the snuff tobacco lobby, in March 2012.


An email seen by MaltaToday and being published for the first time has confirmed that the European Smokeless Tobacco Council (ESTOC) was in contact with Sliema businessman Silvio Zammit, in a bid to set up an informal meeting with former European Commissioner John Dalli.

In the email, ESTOC secretary-general Inge Delfosse (pictured) addresses Silvio Zammit by his first name, and tells him:

"Hi Silvio, There are some bad rumours flying around Brussels. Could you let me know whether it would be possible to have an informal meeting with Dalli in Brussels and how much you would charge for that? Let's talk! Cheers, Inge."

The email request is dated March 2012, but MaltaToday is as yet unaware whether this is the basis of the OLAF investigation that prompted Dalli's resignation from European Commissioner on Tuesday.

ESTOC's chairman is Patrik Hildingsson, the public communications director of Swedish Match who yesterday spoke to MaltaToday and said that Zammit had made the Swedish snuff producer "an indecent proposal which we thought was real and credible enough" - leading Swedish Match to report the incident to the European Commission some time in May 2012, according to OLAF.

Hildingsson also said Swedish Match had no historical relationship with Zammit, who is understood to have made an advance to the company.

But as recently as March 2012, ESTOC's secretary-general Inge Delfosse was still in contact with Zammit asking him how much he would charge to set up "an informal meeting" with Dalli - ostensibly in the run-up to his review of the Tobacco Products Directive which was to have an effect on the sale of Swedish snus.

According to the OLAF investigation, Zammit - a known Nationalist activist who yesterday tendered his resignation as deputy mayor of Sliema - would have suggested to Swedish Match that he could have used his contacts with Dalli to influence his upcoming review of the Tobacco Products Directive. The email between ESTOC and Zammit suggests that the lobby entertained his requests in 2012, while Swedish Match - which is part of the ESTOC lobby - reported Zammit to the European Commission.

ESTOC is a lobby that seeks to secure permission to sell smokeless tobacco products in Europe and the world, but snus is banned from sale in Europe except in Sweden, which obtained an exemption upon accession to the EU in 1995.

MORE: Health NGOs decry 'big tobacco' attempt at derailing Dalli anti-smoking campaign [READ HERE]

Matthew Vella is editor MaltaToday.com.mt and MaltaToday on Sunday.

He joined Mediat...
harold gemert
Excellent point by Brussels expat. The basis for the complaint was made in 2011. The content of the OLAF report is secret, even Dalli has not read it.
Dora Buttigieg
Mr Zammit is the deputy mayor of Sliema of the party in government viz GonziPN. Is this the way how he should lead by example? Is this the way how things should be done, by going around the back of the authorities? Is this the way how to make a quick euro?
Dora Buttigieg
Nahseb ghal dan kien qed jirreferi "xi cuc Malti"!
GRACE PAVIA
Algan, voters have extremely limited means to vet prospective candidates. Political parties are in a far more formidable position to do this vetting, and should do so. Then again, trading in influence is par for the course in Malta, where it is colloquially referred to as "friends of friends" syndrome. All Malta knows that this goes on extensively and Gozitans know this far better. This system is also utilised to great effect by commercial and political interests either to promote their interests or eliminate their opponents. To me this web of intrigue does not concern just the Swedes, but has Machiavellian portuguese and maltese elements involved as well. Is it possible that a web of deceit was maneuvered to kill two birds with one stone; eliminate the threat to the tobacco industry and repay Dalli for his attitude to PN grandees?
albert leone
Our political system seems to operate at levels well below the ethical transparent standards expected in Europe. Trading influence of business cliques with direct connections to the centres of party power and who often give unaudited secret donations in a quid pro quo arrangement seem to be part of our political landscape. It seems also that parties in their eagerness for attracting votes are not properly vetting prospective candidates Many seem to look at a political office as a career advancement step or a a means of achieving financial gain. It is clearly time to clean our political stables and reintroduce the ideals that politics is all about serving the people. A good purge of the political system and a new way of doing politics to the highest standards as is to be found in Germany and the Nordic countries is urgently required. Voters should be very careful and responsible this time to select trustworthy candidates known for their unsullied integrity and high principles.
Matthew Mangion
This is the same character who got the permits for the Circus in a residential area in Naxxar. This was approved by the local Council who's Mayor is Maria Deguara, wife of our former Health Minister Louis Deguara MP and a co worker of John Dalli - now you do the math
albert leone
Our political system seems to operate at levels well below the ethical transparent standards expected in Europe. Trading influence of business cliques with direct connections to the centres of party power and who often give unaudited secret donations in a quid pro quo arrangement seem to be part of our political landscape. It seems also that parties in their eagerness for attracting votes are not properly vetting prospective candidates Many seem to look at a political office as a career advancement step or a a means of achieving financial gain. It is clearly time to clean our political stables and reintroduce the ideals that politics is all about serving the people. A good purge of the political system and a new way of doing politics to the highest standards as is to be found in Germany and the Nordic countries is urgently required. Voters should be very careful and responsible this time to select trustworthy candidates known for their unsullied integrity and high principles.
parla piu piano
This is High Treason. I hope the Maltese state takes immediate action against Mr Silvio Zammit as he deserves nothing better. He has brought a whole nation to be ridiculated by all the EU. In other countries such offences to the State are dealt with huge punishments. I hope that an example is set.
John Schranz
The subject of this email is "Re: proposal". So where is the email with the subject "proposal" and who sent that? Just would like the full story, not trying to jump at any conclusions.
fufa
Gonzi kien qalilna li se jaghmel l-elezzjoni tal-Kunsill Lokali f'tas-Sliema sena qabel iz-zmien sabiex inaddaf il-Kunsill Lokali u jdahhal nies serji fil-Kunsill. Lanqas lahqet ghaddiet gimgha mill-elezzjoni li ma kienx hemm dan il-kuntatt bejn Zammit u l-ESTOC. Nies serji tassew. Ajma hej...
John Schranz
The subject of this email is "Re: proposal". So where is the email with the subject "proposal" and who sent that? Just would like the full story, not trying to jump at any conclusions.
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