Former European Commissioner John Dalli, who stands accused of trading in influence and attempted bribery to help lift the EU ban on snus, said that no evidence was brought against him in two recent sittings, according to a report by the Malta Independent.
Dalli’s statement was in reaction to the decision on Friday by Magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo that enough evidence has been brought forward for him to stand trial.
Dalli has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
“Some media in Malta must have had a schadenfreude pleasure in reporting the decision of the court that there is a prima facie case against me and therefore the compilation is to continue,” Dalli said.
“Anyone following the case objectively would know that in two sittings, not one shred of evidence has been brought against me. It must be said that it was my choice not to move for the prima facie dismissal of the case. I want this hearing to go through the full process and have the opportunity to expose the machinations of the Commission and OLAF officials about this case. This should start during the next sitting. I hope that there will be no attempt to stop this through claims of immunity.”
The case dates from 2012, when 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.
Zammit who was charged in December 2012 for trading influence and complicity in the request, passed away earlier this year.