Journalists’ role is to inform, says IGM on Dalli’s criminal libel

Dalli has filed a criminal complaint against the Malta Independent’s report on an alleged €600,000 scam

John Dalli: using criminal libel in reaction to Malta Independent reports
John Dalli: using criminal libel in reaction to Malta Independent reports

The Institute for Journalists has called for greater appreciation for the role of journalists to investigate stories, after former European Commissioner John Dalli responded to reports about his company’s links to an alleged €600,000 scam with criminal libel.

Dalli restored to file a criminal complaint for defamation against Standard Publications, the publishers of the Malta Independent, over a story that a complaint had been filed with the FBI to investigate the alleged scam.

“The IGM appeals for more appreciation of the work journalists do, which includes exposing all sides and give space to all parties to have their say, to follow and report on what is of public interest. Only in this manner can the public’s intelligence be respected, in freely forming its own opinion,” the IGM said.

The IGM is currently in talks with the government over the removal of criminal defamation.

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.

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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