Unverified Dalligate email over Swedish Match offer revealed

Police yet to present email in court • Lawyer for Gayle Kimberley claims it’s false

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
17 November 2014, 1:28pm
Gayle Kimberley, left, is a witness in the prosecution of Silvio Zammit on the Dalligate bribery charges, which he denies.
Gayle Kimberley, left, is a witness in the prosecution of Silvio Zammit on the Dalligate bribery charges, which he denies.
The Maltese police are considering whether to exhibit in court an email allegedly sent by lawyer Gayle Kimberley to Silvio Zammit – the man accused of soliciting a bribe in the Dalligate affair – which could implicate her in the €60 million bribe allegedly sought to influence European tobacco rules.

The lawyer for Kimberley, Giannella de Marco, claims the email “has been shown to be false” but the document remains in the hands of police investigators and is not yet exhibited in court.

The email, seen by MaltaToday, is dated 14 February at 7:31pm – the day after Silvio Zammit was accused of having asked Swedish Match official Johan Gabrielsson for €60 million to lift an EU retail ban on the smokeless tobacco snus which is legal only in Sweden.

The disputed email allegedly sent on the 14 February 2012
The disputed email allegedly sent on the 14 February 2012
It read: “Good morning Silv, Hope you had a great evening at the Casino! Johan will get back to me soon and you really did a good job last evening. Better 60 then 50, ghax hekk it’s more a round figure and Matt said we deserve it. Let’s hope for a better future. Talk to you soon! Gayle”. The person referred to as Matt is Kimberley’s husband Matthew.

A lawyer for Silvio Zammit has confirmed that the email, whose details were also published in a Brussels online news website earlier last week, have been in the hands of police investigators for months.

But Kimberley’s lawyer claims the email is false and that her client was duly questioned about it. “It was evident that it is a fabricated email. My client will be writing to the EUObserver to protest about their publication of an email that they did not have the common decency or the professionalism to confront her with before it was published. It is not clear what their agenda is, but the search for the truth may not be very high on the list,” de Marco said. “The police had full access to my client’s computers and server, as well as that of Silvio Zammit, and this email simply did not exist.”

On his part, Zammit’s lawyer, Edward Gatt said that police have never raised any doubt about the content of the email, and that the evidence should be presented in court. “We have waited for months to have them presented in court.”

Following an investigation by the EU’s anti-fraud agency OLAF, investigators pointed Kimberley out as a possible accomplice in the €60 million bribe request.

Maltese police however have never prosecuted her and she is currently a witness in the case brought against Zammit, 49. He denies the charges of having asked for a multi-million bribe from Swedish Match and the European Smokeless Tobacco Council (Estoc).

The disputed email could further illustrate the extent of the relationship between Kimberley, 39, and Zammit, a former deputy mayor of Kimberley’s hometown, Sliema.

Kimberley was paid €5,000 by Swedish Match to provide them with access to former European health commissioner John Dalli. Zammit, who was already known to Swedish Match as a man close to Dalli, communicated with Kimberley to arrange a meeting with the commissioner.

At the time of their investigation, OLAF investigators realised that Kimberley had lied about having taken part in a 10 February, 2012 meeting with Dalli at his Portomaso office, in which she alleged that money was demanded to influence EU tobacco rules.

On 13 February, 2012, she met Swedish Match public affairs director Johan Gabrielsson at Silvio Zammit’s pizzeria in Sliema, where she warned him that Zammit had brought up the issue of money during the fictitious meeting, and that he would again ask the Swedish firm for money to reverse the snus ban.

“During the conversation Kimberley was passive,” Gabrielsson had recalled to OLAF. “When I returned to the hotel I called my boss Patrik Hildingsson… my boss was also astonished. Later the same day I had dinner with Kimberley and her husband, and we talked about the situation. I again expressed my astonishment and I insisted on my opinion and that this would never be accepted. Kimberley’s husband followed the conversation with certain amusement and found the situation was exciting.”

That same day, Kimberley and Zammit spoke in a telephone conversation that lasted nine minutes, and again the next day in the evening.

According to the timing of the email in question, the next day Kimberley would have mentioned the alleged million-euro figure that Zammit had proposed to Gabrielsson.

Kimberley and Zammit stayed in almost daily telephonic contact through February and March.

But even after Swedish Match officials told Kimberley that the company was not interested, she featured in a second lobbying effort: the one in which Zammit communicated with Estoc, whose chairman at the time was Swedish Match’s Patrik Hildingsson.

On 21 February, Gabrielsson told Kimberley not to pursue any contact with Zammit. The two texted each other several times, and communicated telephonically in March.

An email dated 29 February shows Kimberley’s husband Matthew, forwarding a lobbying proposal to Zammit, suggesting that he forwards it to Inge Delfosse, the Estoc secretary-general.

The YouRock payment transferred into Silvio Zammit's account
The YouRock payment transferred into Silvio Zammit's account
“Silvio, suggest you forward this to Inge. Gayle is in copy. You may like to wait for her input before sending.”

The email contained a list of services that Matthew Kimberley’s company You Rock Ltd could offer Estoc, with Gayle Kimberley’s resumé attached.

Gayle Kimberley, who has been questioned by OLAF on the matter, has defended herself saying that Zammit was helping her out with a job at British American Tobacco – with whom Zammit had already had dealings – and that he misused it in his second lobbying attempt.

But another example of the relationship between the Kimberleys and Zammit was a €3,540 payment that You Rock Ltd paid into Zammit’s bank account on 2 March, 2012.

Zammit sent the email on 8 March. Delfosse, upon reading the email, informed Hildingsson, who she said warned her to “be careful with Mr Zammit”.

Kimberley chides Silvio Zammit in this email for leaving ‘copy/paste proposal’ in the subject header when he sent a second lobbying attempt to Estoc
Kimberley chides Silvio Zammit in this email for leaving ‘copy/paste proposal’ in the subject header when he sent a second lobbying attempt to Estoc
When Delfosse replied on 15 March, she was confused by the introduction of You Rock Ltd.

Upon showing Kimberley, the Maltese lawyer reprimanded Zammit for leaving the subject line ‘copy/paste proposal’ when he forwarded it to Delfosse.

“Mela you left the title of e-mail ‘coy/past (sic) proposal’???” she wrote on 15 March at 4:45pm.

“I trust you followed up the e-mail with a phone call to explain to her as we discussed.”

She then guided him how to write the email:

“Here’s a suggested reply: Inge hi, I should clarify. I am offering these services alone and personally. I use the company below as my consultants on EU law and public affairs (the bios of the company directors will tell you why – huge experience in Brussels). I simply wanted to give you options regarding invoicing should you need to bill an established company with expertise in EU affairs for all or part of the cost and therefore sent you additional information which is usually required by Brussels based consultancy firms at least in our experience. If you do not need this, please feel free to discard.”

They also spoke telephonically at 4:51pm.

That same night at 11:32pm, Zammit sent Kimberley’s reworded text to Delfosse.

On 16 March, Delfosse emailed Zammit to inform him about “bad rumours” in Brussels, so that they could chat on the telephone. In a second telephone call, Delfosse recorded Zammit’s chat in which a request was made for €10 million for a meeting ‘between my boss and your boss’.

Kimberley and Zammit kept in contact right up until May, when the investigation started.

Zammit has filed a formal complaint to the Belgian data protection commission against Delfosse and Swedish Match vice-president Fredrik Peyron, for having recorded the telephone conversation without his knowledge.

The recording was later passed on to Peyron, who gave it to Michel Petit – a former head of legal services under José Manuel Barroso – who at the time of the recording was a lobbyist for tobacco company Philip Morris, as an employee of Clifford Chance lobbyists. Philip Morris and Swedish Match have a business relationship selling snus in the United States.

A second telephone call occurred on 3 July 2012, this time by Delfosse on instigation of OLAF personnel. Zammit has already said that the call was an attempt at entrapment.

OLAF’s investigation was later criticised by its supervisory committee, which said that OLAF listened to private telephone conversations between witnesses, an action that contravened Zammit’s human rights.

“The recording of a telephone conversation in the presence of an official of a public authority, acting in the performance of his duties and making a crucial contribution by making available his office, his telephone and his tape recorder represented an interference in that person’s right to respect for her correspondence.”

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.