Dalli files police report over Independent report on $600,000 scam

Updated | Former European Commissioner files criminal complaint over report alleging connection with alleged $600,000 fraud

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
12 May 2015, 9:46am
John Dalli
John Dalli
Former European Commissioner John Dalli has filed a criminal complaint for defamation against Standard Publications, after publishing details of a complaint made to the FBI and his alleged involvement in a €600,000 scam.

Dalli, who resigned the EC in 2012 over allegations that he was aware of a €60 million bribe to reverse a retail ban on tobacco, said the newspaper’s report was replete with “innuendoes, false allegations and attempts at linking pieces of information that are disconnected” creating the impression that he set out to defraud a group of American nationals.

“I declare that I do not have anything to do with any transfer of money between people.  I have never solicited investment and never managed investments,” Dalli said.

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In a reaction, director Pierre Portelli said The Malta Independent categorically denied Dalli's serious allegations that the editorial team "was involved in a conspiracy for extortion and blackmail."

"This media house is proud of its editorial team and their efforts to report in an independent and unbiased manner. The Malta Independent can easily prove to have given Dalli ample editorial space to explain and reply to allegations made in his regard by different local and foreign persons and/or institutions over the past decade. The Malta Independent will give full cooperation to the police in their investigations."

Dalli accused the alleged whistleblowers of harassing his daughter with statements that they had made a report to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the FBI, Interpol, the US Senate, the European Central Bank, OLAF and the Maltese police.

“They made specific threats that with full knowledge that my family and I had nothing to do with this affair and knowing how the media have been trying to crucify me, they would use the media to vilify me if their demands are not met post haste.

“They were trying to take advantage of the damage that media slander campaigns would cause to a person in my position, and this in an attempt extort money from my family and myself. Correspondence can be supplied,” he said in his complaint to the Maltese police.

Dalli

Dalli has asked for an investigation by the Maltese police, which he dubbed ‘a conspiracy for extortion and blackmail’, against Michael Brady of South Carolina and Regina Hayes, who have commented on the story and made various allegations, Malta Independent journalist Jacob Borg, and Standard Publications’ directors Noel Azzopardi, David Bartoli, Malcolm Miller, Pierre Portelli and Joseph Said.

“It has become obvious that over the past weeks they have been in contact with journalists of the publications of Standard Publications Limited and of bloggers associated with them to exert pressure on my family and me. These journalists and bloggers have been campaigning against me for years. “

Malta Independent report

On Sunday, the Malta Independent claimed that eight American investors who have allegedly been swindled out of $600,000 wired their money to an account owned by Corporate Group – a company operated by Dalli’s two daughters – only to find out they had been “duped.”

Entitled ‘FBI, Maltese police asked to investigate company involved in John Dalli’s Bahamas trip,’ the article also said that it was initially understood that the funds were to be wired to another company tied to John Dalli.

“At the time of wiring the funds, our group was under the understanding that their funds were being wired to a company known as Tyre Limited, which is located in Malta and whose business address is or was John Dalli’s personal residence,” Michael Brady, the group’s representative, told the newspaper.

One of the investors also said that she was led to believe that Tyre Limited was involved as the wife Tyre Limited’s new director signed one of the payments. Tyre Limited made the headlines in 2012 after it was revealed to have financed the rental of a villa that hosted John Dalli while in the Bahamas. The company’s secretary was Claire Gauci Borda, the daughter of the former EU Commissioner.

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Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.