OLAF’s latest press statement re Dalli

Published: October 20, 2012 at 1:22am

OLAF – European Anti-Fraud Office: press statement
10/19/2012| 02:47pm US/Eastern

OLAF Press Release No. 5, 2012
Brussels, 19 October 2012

In order to clarify comments contained in recent media reports, OLAF issues the following statement regarding its investigation into alleged bribe requests to obtain the lifting of the EU ban on snus.

The OLAF investigation found evidence that a Maltese entrepreneur, who had organised meetings between Commissioner DALLI and representatives and lobbyists of snus producers, repeatedly requested a considerable sum of money from the snus industry in exchange for the adoption of a proposal for the lifting of the ban on snus, trading on the name of the Commissioner. This request was declined by the snus industry and no payment or financial transactions have taken place.

The OLAF investigation found no conclusive evidence of the direct participation of Commissioner DALLI in the operation for requesting money. In line with Regulation 1073/99, OLAF has referred the case to the competent Maltese judicial authorities, for their consideration of the criminal aspects of the actions of the persons involved.

OLAF has also concluded that there are a number of unambiguous circumstantial pieces of evidence gathered in the course of the investigation, indicating that Commissioner DALLI was aware of the activities of the Maltese entrepreneur and of the fact that this person was using the Commissioner’s name and position to gain financial advantages.

OLAF found that Commissioner DALLI had taken no action to prevent or dissociate himself from the facts or to report the circumstances. In line with Regulation 1073/99, OLAF referred the case to the President of the Commission, for his consideration in light of the provisions laid down by the “Code of Conduct for the Commissioners”, C (2011) 2094.

OLAF was aware of the evidence reported in recent press articles which formed part of the overall findings of the investigation on the basis of which OLAF has drawn its conclusions. OLAF regrets that partial evidence of the case has been provided to the press by interested parties, and will not comment on details of the investigation as the matter is now under consideration by the judicial authorities.

The following rules of procedure apply to the rights of the persons concerned by OLAF investigations:

Article 4 of the Commission Decision 199/396/EC of 2 June 1999 provides that:
“In any event, conclusions referring by name to a Member … of the Commission may not be drawn once the investigation has been completed without the interested party’s having been enabled to express his views on all the facts which concern him.”

Article 18.1 of the OLAF Instructions to Staff on Investigative Procedures stipulates that:
“Prior to drawing conclusions referring by name to a person concerned, the investigation unit must inform him of facts concerning him and invite him to comment on those facts. These comments may be provided within the framework of an interview or in writing.”

All rights of the persons concerned by the investigation have been respected. Prior to the adoption of the final report a comprehensive review of the investigation process was conducted to ensure compliance with all legal requirements including the rights and procedural guarantees of the persons concerned.

Commissioner DALLI was interviewed twice during OLAF’s investigation. On these occasions he was provided with the allegations and the facts concerning him, and given the opportunity to comment on them. Commissioner DALLI was informed and availed of his right to be assisted by a person of his choice during the interview.

The principle of the presumption of innocence and the right of defence of the persons concerned by OLAF investigations are fully respected throughout the whole investigation process.

The mission of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is threefold: it protects the financial interests of the European Union (EU) by investigating fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities; it detects and investigates serious matters relating to the discharge of professional duties by members and staff of the EU institutions and bodies that could result in disciplinary or criminal proceedings; and it supports the European Commission in the development and implementation of fraud prevention and detection policies.

24 Comments Comment

  1. Francis Saliba says:

    From the vague hints about undisclosed, circumstantial (i.e. not probative) evidence about bribery negotiations between Zammit and a Swedish Match representative, it follows that an impartial OLAF should have informed the Swedish Attorney General about its findings at the same time as it informed Malta’s A.G. If this was not done the stench of a possible systematic entrapment spreads wider still.

  2. Patrick Zammit says:

    Well I think that OLAF could have waited a little bit more to come out. She could have waited for the law to go ahead. In which case she would have had either a stronger case or a weaker case. However, it might have stronger evidenve than shown in public. We wait and see what happens.

    [Daphne – Why is OLAF ‘she’?]

  3. Mister says:

    So John Dalli was interviewed twice, knowing the fact that Olaf was investigating. So how can Dalli come and say on Neweurope that he didn’t know ?

    No wonder John Dalli was spending more and more time in Malta lately…. He knew his days are numbered.

    • maryanne says:

      I wish someone will put his latest appearances on Super One into perspective. Let’s say, from July onwards.

      Was Labour informed of the investigation?

  4. canon says:

    So far this issue has been a tragedy. I hope now that the issue is in Malta’s hands it will not turn into a comedy.

  5. Lestrade says:

    Francis Saliba MD and Evarist Saliba are busy trying to defend the indefensible Johnny “Cash” Dalli debacle. Wonder why ?

  6. Richard Borg says:

    So, you actually believe and entertain the thought that John Dalli personally met Silvio at his kiosk as seen by your two witnesses (which seem to be the same two that Bondi has) and asked him to solicit a fee of 60 million euros in order to change the legislation on snus?

    I am in no way trying to prove his innocence but you are trying to hard to prove his guilt!

    [Daphne – Richard Borg, unlike you, I grew up in Sliema just as Silvio Zammit did, and we just so happen to be exactly the same age. I used to buy mqaret from his mother as a child – she used to cook them there and then on a spiritiera near the playground by the watchtower. Then they graduated to a stall by the Taormina Kiosk further along the front. He started out as a canvasser for two Sliema politicians precisely because he was well integrated into Sliema, and somehow he ended up a fixer for John Dalli from Hal Qormi. Zammit did not meet Dalli at his kiosk only on two occasions. He is Dalli’s FIXER and henchman – the sort of fixer and henchman Labour politicians used to have and probably still do.]

  7. Richard Borg says:


  8. Numerus says:

    Once again John Dalli chooses to go only on One TV –

    Robert Musumeci
    55 seconds ago
    JOHN DALLI PREZENTI FL-ISTUDJO waqt “Fis- sustanza” ta’ nhar it- Tnejn. Nanalizzaw il- fatti KOLLHA. Mieghi u Simone Cini fit- 2030.

  9. kev says:

    Again, we get the “unambiguous circumstantial pieces of evidence gathered in the course of the investigation… indicating” that Dalli was aware of what was going on, but also that “[t]he OLAF investigation found no conclusive evidence of the direct participation of Commissioner DALLI in the operation for requesting money.”

    This is investigative bull. If these pieces of circumstantial evidence are so unambiguous, why not describe any of them? They can’t, because all they came up with was that Zammit and Dalli were business associates – and that proves absolutely nothing. In fact, given that Dalli did not have the power to deliver in the first place the evidence can only prove that he couldn’t have known and, more, he wouldn’t have allowed it to continue had he become aware.

    Note that the anti-tobacco campaigners have all come out in defence of Dalli, expressing sadness at his departure and pointing out that all this shows how powerful the tobacco industry is.

    Did Snus, through their obscure lobbyists, try to ensnare Dalli through his (greedy and moronic) associate Zammit?

    Yes. The evidence points in that direction. This is a case of entrapment gone wrong, corrected by OLAF to some degree. Barroso played his part too. Indeed, the tobacco industry never liked Dalli and Barroso must have received a little star for good behaviour.

    Only the naive and the obsessed would go on about this as this blog is doing – which is why I am bidding you all good bye, and, mutually I’m sure, good riddance.

    • La Redoute says:

      Here’s another conspiracy for your collection. Dalli couldn’t influence legislation but thought majtezwel give it a try so he gets his bazuzlu to ask for 10,000,000 Euros as a deposit, knowing full well he couldn’t be sued when he failed to deliver the goods.

    • Harry Purdie says:

      Ah, c’mon Kevvy. This is a conspiracy in which you can certainly revel.

      Don’t give up all wimpy and grumpy, with your tail between your legs.

      I’m sure you can continue to contribute. We need you, Kevvy.

      Or has wifey ordered you to stop, since you are embarrassing her and have put her future into jeopardy.

  10. andi says:

    Imaginary scenario 1

    a) Fix a couple of meetings to make the whole thing credible.

    b) Ask for 60 million euros with a down-payment of 10 million euros. Balance to be provided once the law is changed.

    c) Receive payment yet don’t change the law because it cannot be changed anyway.

    Result: profit 10 million which won’t be returned and cannot be claimed back because company would face bribery charges – perfect had it worked.

    Imaginary scenario 2

    OLAF is nuts.

  11. Katrin says:

    Just google John Dalli and Monsanto. Then you may get closer as to why he really had to go.

  12. Francis Saliba says:

    I am not defending John Dalli or any other individual. I have no reason to do so.

    He flippantly ousted a close relative of mine, Dr Joe Borg from a Commissioner of Malta when he was giving admirable and sterling service there.

    I am defending the good name of Malta against a pernicious assault by a despicable, murderous, corrupt and antisocial tobacco industry.

    [Daphne – Malta’s good name is best defended by distancing itself from a man like Dalli, who should never have been dispatched, in the first place, to a position with an international profile where he was BOUND to end up badly. I do not wish myself or my country to be associated with rubbish like that, and there is no way on earth that I am going to stand up for him or give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s had the benefit of the doubt for years and look where it got us.]

    • Francis Saliba says:

      As I have said already: I am not standing up for Dalli in any way. According to my philosophy. an animosity towards Dalli does not justify that I align myself on the side of a corrupt tobacco lobby.against my own country. Evidently you think otherwise but, please, allow me to differ.

      Lestrade’s “wonder” was a thinly disguised insinuation that I, (and my brother), may have a hidden agenda for criticising Swedish Match and OLAF’s discriminatory treatment of those involved in the bribery attempt. That is a base, unfounded and a malicious insinuation that I strongly resent.

    • Lestrade says:

      Mela “ousted” = “perpetual ground rent” (in Maltese it sounds better.

      • Francis Saliba says:

        Please learn how to use a dictionary so as to learn that “ousting” can refer to removal from a property removal from A POSITION i.e. a job.

  13. Evarist Saliba says:

    @ Lestrade 20/10 @ 9.23 AM

    Unlike you, I write my comments under my own name, and I wonder wheteher I should ask you why you do not have the courage to reply in the same way.

    More so, since you falsely accuse me of defending Dalli.

    My experience in life, and my sense of responsibility, make me very careful what I write about other people, and I do not attach words like “cash” as freely as you do.

    My stand so far has been very clear. I hold no brief for John Dalli, and I have my reasons for doing do. I have criticised him for having a local businessman with obvious limited experience, as a person to speak on his behalf in the corridors of the EU. At the same time, I hold no brief for the tobacco industry in Sweden which seems to be hell-bent to influence the EU to change its postion

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