Monday

20th Feb 2017

EU court dismisses Dalli case

  • Dalli at the European Court of Justice last year (Photo: EUobserver)

A former EU health commissioner, accused of soliciting bribes from mouth tobacco maker Swedish Match, lost his case against the European Commission for unlawful dismissal.

Judges on Tuesday (12 May) dismissed the case brought before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg by John Dalli in December 2012. The General Court ruled that "Dalli resigned voluntarily".

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The Maltese national said he was forced out of office on 16 October 2012 following allegations he helped broker a deal to water down EU-wide tobacco legislation in exchange for €60 million.

The scandal erupted after the European Commission, headed at the time by Jose Manual Barroso, announced to press that Dalli had agreed to resign of his own his will. Barroso said Dalli had become “politically untenable” and had to go.

But Dalli, who has always maintained his innocence, said he was forced to resign, not given the opportunity to study the charges brought against him by the EU's anti-fraud office Olaf, and unable to defend himself as a result.

“I asked him [Barroso] to give me the possibility to consult a lawyer, to get some sort of legal advice … I asked for 24 hours. He looked at his watch and he said ‘I’ll give you 30 minutes’,” Dalli told a panel of five judges at the Luxembourg-based court last July.

The €60 million deal to lift the sale ban on Swedish Match’s flagship product snus did not take place.

But Olaf linked Dalli with a local middleman who solicited the bribe from the Swedish mouth tobacco producer.

Olaf’s five-month probe based the accusations “on unambiguous and converging circumstantial evidence”.

The lack of explicit evidence, coupled with the anti-fraud office’s questionable investigative practices, soon attracted broad criticism from transparency NGOs and leading MEPs in the parliament’s budgetary control committee.

Olaf has since been accused of illegal wiretapping.

The allegations took a more serious turn when Belgian prosecutors issued a request to suspend the diplomatic immunity of senior Olaf officials implicated in the affair, reported the Sunday Times over the weekend.

Dalli has since returned to Malta, where the drama continues to play out in national media and courts.

Investigation

EU smoke & mirrors

EUobserver reporter Nikolaj Nielsen sheds new light on the Dalli lobbying scandal, which, by Barroso's own admission, threatened to bring down the EU executive, but which is not over yet.

Germany seeks to harden EU border checks

German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said internal EU border controls should be imposed on security as well as immigrations grounds, shifting their legal basis.

Le Pen used 'fake' EU parliament jobs

A leaked EU anti-fraud office report says French far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, had her bodyguard and personal assistant paid by the EU parliament for jobs they did not do.

Opinion

EU must tackle Poland's bad behaviour

Developments in Washington only serve to highlight the need for positive action in the face of an overtly nationalistic and anti-rights form of populism.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  4. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  5. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe
  7. Salzburg Global SeminarToward a Shared Culture of Health: Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship
  8. European Free AllianceAustria Should Preserve & Promote Bilingual and Multinational Carinthia
  9. Martens CentreShow Your Love for Democracy! Take Part in Our Contest: "If It's Broken, Let's Fix It"
  10. CISPECloud Computing Leaders Establish Data Protection Standards to Protect Customer Data
  11. Malta EU 2017Landmark Deal Reached With European Parliament on Portability of Online Content
  12. Belgrade Security ForumBSF 2017: Building a Common Future in the Age of Uncertainty