Dalli on Egrant claim: ‘Jonathan Ferris should be investigated for perjury’

Former EU commissioner takes aim at MaltaToday for reporting Ferris’s claims in Egrant inquiry

Former European Commissioner John Dalli
Former European Commissioner John Dalli
Egrant

The former EU commissioner John Dalli has taken umbrage at MaltaToday’s report from the Egrant magisterial inquiry, in which former FIAU officer Jonathan Ferris claims Dalli suggested to him that Labour owned a secret offshore company for its electoral funds.

Ferris told the magistrate investigating allegations that the secret Egrant company was owned by the spouse of prime minister Joseph Muscat, that none other than John Dalli had claimed with him that ‘Egrant’ stood for ‘Election Grant’.

The story, as told by Ferris to Bugeja, was that before leaving the police corps, he had informed Dalli that the investigation into his role in a Ponzi scheme would be assigned to a superintendent. “Dalli took me aside and said: ‘look here, and I am telling you this because I have never met someone like you in the corps – if you want to make some noise, if you want to know whose company Egrant is… Egrant is ‘Election Grants’. It is Labour’s company.”

Dalli had denied the claim with the magistrate. But in a statement to this newspaper he berated MaltaToday for ‘wedging’ him in the Egrant affair and for “reproducing the perjury of Ferris”, as well as for carrying his image in a quadriptych photo so redolent of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s cryptic ‘17 Black the name of a company in Dubai’ photo in which Dalli appeared alongside Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri, and Joseph Muscat. The link was then never explained.

Above, the photo illustrating a MaltaToday story on the Ferris claims. Below: the cryptic blog Daphne Caruana Galizia put up in February 2017, which was the first time that 17 Black was mentioned. “[MaltaToday] has been pushing Daphne’s calumny of the 17 Black story by reproducing the pictures published by her without giving any basis for her perverse intuition. Now they even copied her style of a four-picture collage to try to imply that I was involved in the false story of a transfer of a million dollars.”
Above, the photo illustrating a MaltaToday story on the Ferris claims. Below: the cryptic blog Daphne Caruana Galizia put up in February 2017, which was the first time that 17 Black was mentioned. “[MaltaToday] has been pushing Daphne’s calumny of the 17 Black story by reproducing the pictures published by her without giving any basis for her perverse intuition. Now they even copied her style of a four-picture collage to try to imply that I was involved in the false story of a transfer of a million dollars.”

Dalli gave his version of the events recounted by Ferris: “Ferris said he called me and my children to inform us that he was passing the investigation about the accusations created by [OLAF director] Giovanni Kessler in collaboration with Daphne Caruana Galizia. This is false,” Dalli said of the investigation in which Dalli’s daughters now stand charged of having collaborated in processing payments for a Ponzi scheme.

“This is false. My children and I were never called for a meeting by Ferris… It was I who asked the Commissioner of Police for a meeting after having received anonymous emails about corruption in Brussels. The Commissioner instructed Ferris through Ian Abdilla to fix an appointment with me, which he did for the 20th October 2016,” Dalli said, providing emails of the communication.

The email pertains to an anonymous whistleblower who had requested €3,000 from Dalli for compromising information on former EC president José Barroso, but which never came through. Barroso led the Commission when Dalli resigned in October 2012 over an OLAF investigation’s suggestion of “circumstantial evidence” that he may have been aware of a bribery attempt.

“During the meeting he did tell us that he asked to be transferred from the police department to the FIAU. He also told us that two other officials from the police and himself were called to Brussels by Giovanni Kessler who was pressuring them to take action against me. Ferris told me that he was amazed how Kessler was paranoid about me…”

Dalli said Ferris accompanied them on their way out, and as he walked alone with him, he spoke to him about certain people involved in the alleged Ponzi scheme.

“I was emphatic with the magistrate at the inquiry that I could not have made this statement to him as I did not have any information about Egrant,” Dalli said of Ferris’s claim that he suggested the secret Panamanian company stood for ‘Election Grant’. “The first time I heard this name was when the perverse blogger wrote that I owned the company, basing herself on ‘pure intuition’…

“I am amazed that Malta Today would simply be fascinated that the statement which Ferris was quoting – ‘Election Grant’ - to the court was precisely what Simon Busuttil had said. I would expect that a leading investigative journalist would delve deeper and ask: did John Dalli give such credibility to Simon Busuttil as to echo the latter’s statements? I must state that I did not know about this statement by Dr Busuttil. Was this statement suggested to Ferris by someone very close to him to try and buttress the statement by Simon Busuttil? If this second assumption is true, then this is obstruction of justice and the police should investigate who this prompter was.”

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