Dalli says Council of Europe rapporteur fed information by ‘megalomaniac hate-mongers’

Former European Commissioner said he expected a public apology from Pieter Omtzigt over Dalli’s inclusion in a report on the rule of law in Malta

Former European Commissioner John Dalli
Former European Commissioner John Dalli

Former European Commissioner John Dalli has accused Dutch MP Pieter Omtzigt of reproducing unverified allegations about him in a Council of Europe report on Malta.

Dalli was mentioned in the MP’s report investigating the government’s handling of the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia as well as the rule of law in Malta.

Dalli resigned his post at the European Commission after he was asked to step down by then Commission president José Barroso when a report by the EU’s anti-fraud agency OLAF claimed to have circumstantial evidence that Dalli was aware of an attempt at soliciting a €60 million bribe for him to reverse a retail ban on snus tobacco.

In a nine-page letter Dalli sent to Omtzigt, copied to the press, he accuses the Dutch MP of depriving him of the opportunity to defend himself, despite the fact that a number of other individuals had been interview before the report was prepared.

“This indicates that as far as I am concerned, you have reproduced spurious information which were (sic) fed to you by the megalomaniac hatemongers in Malta and which you endorsed without verifying the allegations. This not only shows that you are shallow and irresponsible, but also that you cannot be trusted with producing an objective contribution in the fight against corruption,” Dalli wrote.

He went on to refute claims that he was only able to avoid prosecution over the bribery claims because the newly-elected Labour government had in 2013 moved to remove police commissioner John Rizzo, who was leading the investigation.

Dalli accused Omtzigt of reproducing allegations fed to by a “top megalomaniac hate monger”, who sits with him in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a clear reference to Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi.

“When occupying an executive position in our governments [he] did not amount to anything, except to give public property to private entrepreneurs for a pittance,” Dalli said, adding that in reality it was Azzopardi who was disgraced.

Dalli also took issue with being referred to as a “disgraced” former commissioner, insisting that he had never been involved in any request for money and that the accusations against him were a “fantasy” contrived by OLAF.

He said that he had stepped down as commissioner only for him to be able to defend himself properly.

Dalli also refuted claims about him which he said had come from the “perverse blogger”, no doubt a reference to the late Daphne Caruana Galizia, including suggestions he was in some way linked to the company 17 Black, the company Egrant or the VGH hospital privatization.

“I hope that you have the decency to apologise publicly,” Dalli said. “I also hope that a genuine sense of duty would spur you to investigate the commission for the impunity granted to their officials.”

More in National