Former European Commissioner John Dalli will face charges as part of a tobacco bribery scandal that resulted in his resignation from the commission in 2012, reports the Times of Malta.
Dalli’s aide Silvio Zammit allegedly tried to obtain a €60 million ($71.17 million) bribe from Swedish Match to reverse the EU ban on snus (the company rejected the offer as improper and reported it to the European Commission). Dalli was the European commissioner for health at the time, in charge of managing reforms to the EU’s tobacco rules. Zammit was charged in December 2012 for trading influence and complicity in the request.
Dalli, however, escaped charges, returning to Malta only after the newly elected Labour government removed Police Commissioner John Rizzo from his job.
Rizzo has always maintained that Dalli, too, had a case to answer to.
His successor as police commissioner, Peter Paul Zammit, decided there was not enough proof to bring charges against the former EU commissioner.
Contacted by Times of Malta, Dalli said the charges were part of a deal struck between current Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa and former Olaf head Giovanni Kessler, who led the EU Anti-Fraud Office’s investigation in 2012.
Dalli will appear in court in Malta on Sept. 17. He said the charges were part of a “campaign” against him. “This is another fraud,” he told the Times of Malta.
In February, Dalli lost his final appeal before the EU high court against a lower court ruling that dismissed the politician’s claim for €1 million in damages stemming from his resignation over the scandal.
Denying knowledge of the bribe, Dalli claimed that he was illegally forced from his post.