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Dalli to be present for Barroso testimony

Dalli wants the EU’s Court to establish the legality of his dismissal, and to annul what he says was a demand by Barroso to vacate his office

24 June 2014, 3:23pm
Former European commissioner John Dalli will be personally attending the General Court at the European Court of Justice, when on 7 July outgoing European Commission president José Manuel Barroso testifies in a case of unfair dismissal.

Dalli wants the EU’s Court to establish the legality of his dismissal, when his forced departure on 16 October 2012 was announced as a resignation by the European Commission.

Dalli wants the ECJ to annul what he says was an oral demand by Barroso to vacate his office within 15 minutes of having informed him of the contents of an OLAF investigation, claiming that Dalli was aware of a request to bribe him which he failed to report.

Dalli is also demanding one euro in the form of a symbolic compensation.

Dalli has also said he will filed for civil damages against the European Commission whether or not he wins the case in the Luxembourg court.

Also called in as witnesses will be Barroso’s chief of staff Johannes Laitenberger; the director of legal services, Luis Romero Requena; Dalli’s former chief of staff Joanna Darmanin, and his former spokesperson, Frederic Vincent.

Dalli has always denied having been aware of allegations that Silvio Zammit, a Maltese restaurateur, had demanded a bribe from Swedish Match to influence tobacco laws that Dalli was reviewing and to lift an EU retail ban on snus, the smokeless tobacco produced by Swedish Match.

OLAF had recommended that both Zammit and Swedish Match lobbyist Gayle Kimberley be charged with bribery, but Maltese police only charged Zammit. Zammit has denied the charges.

Dalli claims that Swedish Match lobbyists and the European smokeless tobacco lobby conspired to entrap him in a bid to derail his harsher anti-smoking laws in the Tobacco Products Directive.

Dalli has also instituted a defamation case against Swedish Match. The defamation case has led Belgian judge Jean Claude van Espen to open an investigation into OLAF, the EU anti-fraud agency, and individuals linked to the OLAF report.

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