Giovanni Kessler - What he told the Attorney General

17 October 2012 • Kessler writes to Attorney General Peter Grech, stating that there was no direct evidence of John Dalli’s involvement and that witness Gayle Kimberley was involved in Silvio Zammit’s bribe request.

Giovanni Kessler, OLAF director-general
Giovanni Kessler, OLAF director-general

Dear Mr Grech,

On 25/05/2013 OLAF opened an investigation regarding an alleged bribe request to economic operators in view to obtain the lifting of the EU ban on snus. Having completed all the necessary investigative activities I have now closed this investigation.

I would like to inform you about the conclusions as set out in the attached Final Report:

On separate occasions, Mr Silvio Zammit requested two economic operators to pay bribes in exchange for ensuring a proposal for lifting of the EU ban on snus. The suggested action was a measure falling within the competence of the European commission, beneficial to the economic operators concerned.

More specifically, on 13/02/2012 one of the economic operators was requested to pay €60 million. Following their refusal communicated on 21/02/2012, Mr Silvio Zammit reiterated the request on 29/03/2012, this time addressing it to the other entity. The amount that he requested from the latter was €10 million.

On both occasions Mr Silvio Zammit referred to the name of the Commissioner John Dalli thus letting the representatives of the abovementioned economic operates to understand that he was acting on behalf of and in the benefit of the Commissioner. In making the necessary arrangements Ms Gayle Kimberley was also involved.

There is no conclusive evidence of the direct participation of Commissioner John Dalli either as instigator or as mastermind of the operation of requesting money in exchange for the promised political services as expressed by Mr Silvio Zammit. Nevertheless, there are a number of unambiguous and converging circumstantial evidences gathered in the course of the investigation, indicating that Commissioner John Dalli was actually aware of both the machinations of Mr Silvio Zammit and of the fact that the latter was using his name and position to gain financial advantages.

In relation to the above, if Mr Silvio Zammit and Ms Gayle Kimberley were acting on behalf of Commissioner John Dalli and if the latter was also involved in this request, then their acts could be qualified as complicity in the alleged offence of bribery as per the Criminal Code of Malta.

If Mr Silvio Zammit and Ms Gayle Kimberley were only pretending to be acting on behalf of Commissioner John Dalli and thus misusing the name of the Commissioner in an attempt to create credibility in the perceptions of the both economic operators, then the acts of Mr Silvio Zammit and Ms Kimberley could be qualified as allegedly committing the offence of trading in influence as per the Criminal Code of Malta.

On the basis of the above and in accordance with Article 9 and 10 of Regulation (EC) 1073/1999 OLAF would like to submit for your attention the information relating to this case, for your kind consideration of further investigation and/or prosecution as appropriate.

Please, do no hesitate to contact OLAF should you need any assistance in this matter. In this regard please be aware that in the event you would like to interview any member, official or other servant of an EU institution, body, office or agency, or to conduct any searches of EU premises, it will be necessary to obtain a waiver of immunity or inviolability of the premises.

I would be very grateful if you could inform OLAF on any action or decision taken as a result of the current letter as soon as possible and in any event no later than 12 months. Please, be informed that OLAF Recommendations concerning this investigation were also sent to the President of the European Commission.

More in Dalligate
Where is the presumption of innocence? Dalli was declared guilty by some Italian bureaucrat just because he thought so, and the fool of Baroso fell for the bait too. I hope that it will not transpire that the outgoing GonziPN government had a finger in the pie to discredit Dalli.