• March 2, 2024

Court Ordered to Reconsider Immunity in ‘Dalligate’

 Court Ordered to Reconsider Immunity in ‘Dalligate’
Photo: Csaba Deli | Dreamstime.com

Europe’s top court on June 18 sent back to a lower court a dispute over immunity in a political scandal involving Swedish smokeless tobacco and millions of dollars in bribes, reports Court House News Service.

The European Court of Justice (EJC) found that a lower court erred in its decision to side with the former head of the European Union’s anti-fraud office, Giovanni Kessler, whose immunity from prosecution had been rescinded by the European Commission following allegations of illegal wiretapping.

The case dates from 2012, when Maltese politician John Dalli either resigned from or was forced out of his post as the European commissioner for health and consumer policy following allegations of bribery.

An investigation by the EU anti-fraud office OLAF found that an associate of Dalli, Silvio Zammit had demanded €60 million ($67 million) from Swedish Match to lift a ban on snus, which is legal in Sweden but outlawed in other EU member states.

Dalli denied he had any knowledge of the bribe. He brought several complaints about his resignation controversy to the court in 2015, which he all lost.

During the OLAF probe, investigators allegedly listened in to a conversation with a witness in the investigation. The information wasn’t used in the investigation, but the actions would be a violation of Belgian wiretapping laws. 

The case now returns to the General Court for another decision.