[WATCH] OLAF report ‘based on a lie’ - John Dalli

Former European Commissioner John Dalli says OLAF report which led to his resignation was based on a lie.

John Dalli
John Dalli

An emotional John Dalli insisted that the OLAF report, which led to European Commission president José Manuel Barroso asking for his resignation, was a set-up to derail the tobacco directive.

Dalli, a former PN leadership contender and long-standing finance minister, served as EU health commissioner until he was forced to resign on 16 October 2012 by European Commission president José Barroso over the allegations that he was aware of a €60 million bribery attempt by one of his political canvassers.

However, he has always insisted that he was a victim of a coup by the tobacco lobby and various political interests in Brussels and Malta conspiring against him.

In an exclusive interview with MaltaToday interview, Dalli questioned the motivations of the OLAF report and noted that Catherine Day, the Commission's secretary-general and "chief civil servant in Europe" had been in contact with Swedish Match lobbyist Michel Petite well before Swedish Match made their allegations against him in writing.

"The evidence shows that they communicated with each other, and the first step to send the allegations to Catherine Day herself was agreed between them. Therefore they had reviewed the allegations by Swedish Match and probably took a preliminary decision of my guilt before the allegations were even made. This is completely unethical and wrong and exposes the contacts between a lobbyist and a commission official," Dalli said.

Insisting that the process, which led to his resignation, was flawed from the very beginning, Dalli said that Swedish Match's allegations, to which Dalli has no access,  "were based on a lie."

"When Barroso spoke to me he knew all along that it was all based on a lie. This is because the second meeting with Gayle Kimberley on February 10 never happened as acknowledged in the OLAF report itself. But they still implied, to concoct an idea, that something happened on that date."

Dalli stressed that the OLAF report went to great lengths the reach the conclusions which were predetermined.

"When one goes through the report, one can see the length they went to stretch situations to come to the conclusion they wanted to make. The OLAF report is like reading something with a preset conclusion and than trying to put a lot of pegs in the holes so that they prove the conclusion that they had already established before."

Asked whether EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso had any other option but to ask Dalli to resign, the former PN minister asked whether the Commission president and OLAF followed procedures in their investigations. 

"Had Barroso had the same opinion of the Supervisory Committee, which we know of today, would he have taken the same decision? With that report in hand, Barroso should have verified as the procedures dictate... that it had gone through all the process of scrutiny set up to scrutinise OLAF. I also have my doubts on how things developed.

Dalli added that although "OLAF is supposed to be independent," he asked why Barroso and his staff made so much pressure on OLAF to conclude the report.

"What hurry did they have to have the report finished? Did they know what the report's conclusions were beforehand? Did they know the report would stop the Tobacco Directive I was working on? These are the questions which must be asked."



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The same question comes to mind. Mr Dalli if you were so sure that all the charges were fabricated and that you were innocent: "Why did you resign"? Resigning so fast showed a sign of guilt even if you were innocent. I hope you can prove your innocence and and in the process you can get your job back. If you can prove you were innocent, then fight for that cause and prove that OLAF was dead wrong. It is a matter of pride.

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