Updated | Dalli accuses OLAF chief of perjury, files complaint with Police Commissioner

Former European Commissioner ‘following Kessler testimony with disgust at manipulation of facts’

John Dalli
John Dalli

Former European Commissioner John Dalli has called on the police “to take action”, after accusing the chief of the EU anti-fraud agency of committing perjury.

OLAF chief Giovanni Kessler is in Malta, testifying in the criminal case against Silvio Zammit, accused of having solicited a €60 million bribe from snus manufacturers Swedish Match for the reversal of an EU retail ban on snus.

READ MORE [LIVE] Giovanni Kessler testifies in charges against Silvio Zammit

Reacting to the ongoing Kessler testimony, Dalli said dates mentioned by the OLAF director were “invented to coincide with his theory of meetings”.

“The dates stated by Kessler are invented to coincide with his theory of meetings. But he did not realise that on one of the dates mentioned – 28 February 2012 – not only did I not propose a lifting of the snus ban but I signed off with my Cabinet and SANCO staff, the parameters on which SANCO based its impact assessment which is the first step for the directive,” Dalli said.

The parameters included a ban on snus and all smokeless nicotine products.

“This is documented and can be verified,” Dalli said in a statement. “This is perjury and I expect the police to take action.”

Dalli said he was following Kessler’s testimony “with disgust at the manipulation of facts”.

Kessler this morning told the court that OLAF conducted a separate investigation on Dalli, in which he interviewed two officials from his cabinet.

“Two Commission officials [Joanna Darmanin and Paula Duarte] told us that Dalli, in a formal meeting of the Cabinet, tried to push for lifting the ban on snus, which issue at that time was not controversial,” Kessler told the court. “The two witnesses, Joanna Darmanin and Ms Duarte, gave two interviews, records of which I don’t have with me but can be provided, said that Dalli, on two occasions on 24 January 2012 and 28 February 2012, pushed for the lifting of the ban, or he tried to see what was necessary to do so.”

Dalli said this was “new fabrication purported to be testimony from Joanna Darmanin and Paula Duarte”.

In his email to the Police Commissioner, Dalli said Kessler's testimony was "fraught with selective quotations which have the effect of manipulation of the truth".

"I request that you take appropriate action against Giovanni Kessler.  As he will be leaving Malta today or tomorrow, I would like you to treat this as urgent," Dalli said.