Former Swedish Match director testifies in bribery case

ESTOC secretary-general Inge Delfosse chooses not to testify in Silvio Zammit charges

L-R: John Dalli, Gayle Kimberley, Silvio Zammit
L-R: John Dalli, Gayle Kimberley, Silvio Zammit

Johan Gabrielsson, a former director of public affairs for Swedish Match, told a court today in the compilation of evidence against Silvio Zammit, of the meeting at Peppi’s Kiosk during which the kiosk owner, Zammit, that he was solicited for a €50 million bribe.

The witness said his impression was that the money to be paid had been intended for Commissioner John Dalli, who resigned his post in October 2012 on the strength of an investigation carried out by EU anti-fraud agency OLAF.

Restaurateur Silvio Zammit is facing criminal charges in connection with his alleged request for a bribe of €60 million from tobacco company Swedish Match and the European Smokeless Tobacco Council in order to help lift a ban on snus – a form of tobacco that can only be sold in Sweden under EU rules.

The scandal forced Dalli – for whom Zammit was a canvasser - to step down after the EU anti-fraud agency (OLAF), which first investigated the case, claiming that the politician was aware that his name was being used in connection with the bribery attempt.

A series of e-mails published in MaltaToday had suggested that Swedish Match’s lobbyist in Malta, Dr. Gayle Kimberly, had guided the lobbying attempts of Zammit.

Testifying via video link, Gabrielsson, who no longer works for the tobacco company, said that a second meeting between Gayle Kimberley and Dalli, the witness said that he suspected that this meeting had, in fact, not happened at all. He said he had repeatedly been asked questions about this second meeting, which Kimberly said had taken place, but he was not certain that it even took place.

ESTOC secretary general Inge Delfosse was also supposed to testify today, but had sent word to the Attorney General informing him that she had been advised not to testify in the proceedings due to the fact that she was also undergoing proceedings in Belgium on a data protection complaint filed by Zammit.

The prosecution will exhibit the communiqué from Delfosse in the next sitting, which will take place on the  2nd July.

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