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EUROPE

Former EU commissioner to face bribery charges linked to EUR 60 million tobacco scandal

07 Sep 2021. John Dalli is facing charges over his aide's attempt to solicit a EUR 60 million bribe to help overturn an EU-wide ban on snus, Times of Malta reported.

At the time the alleged bribe was solicited, Dalli was the European commissioner for health leading reforms to the EU's tobacco directive. His aide Silvio Zammit was charged in December 2012 with trading in influence and complicity in the EUR 60 million bribe request from a Swedish tobacco company, the report said.

However, Dalli escaped prosecution and returned to Malta when the newly-elected Labour government removed police commissioner John Rizzo from office. Rizzo has always maintained that Dalli also had a case to answer to. Dalli was forced to resign as EU commissioner in October 2012, after an investigation by the EU's anti-fraud office OLAF uncovered the attempted bribery.

When asked by Times of Malta, Dalli said the charges were part of a deal between the then lead investigator Angelo Gafa and former OLAF chief Giovanni Kessler. Dalli claimed the allegations were part of the "campaign" waged against him in recent weeks, calling it “another fraud”.