Saturday

16th Nov 2019

Investigation

Part VII: €60mn Valentine's Day gift

  • Valentine's Day cupcakes: What was Kimberley's real role? (Photo: Liana Stevens)

While Silvio Zammit risks jail time and former EU health commission John Dalli is still under investigation, the witness to the prosecution, Gayle Kimberley, has largely escaped scrutiny.

But EUobserver has seen phone records and emails which do not appear in Olaf’s report and which indicate that Gayle Kimberley had a bigger role in the affair than she admitted.

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The source said the evidence has been handed over to the Maltese police but it has not yet been presented in Malta’s court.

The source added that investigators could have missed some of the messages because they were sent from Kimberley’s iPhone and might not have showed up in the sent items folder on her computer.

"The Olaf Press Office can confirm that Olaf did not check Ms Kimberley's iPhone email messages. This is because Olaf has no competence or powers to check the messages of persons that do not work for the EU Institutions," the EU anti-fraud body later told this website.

It said so despite the fact that Kimberley, while on sabbatical in Malta, was still technically employed by the EU Council.

EUobserver also contacted Kimberley to authenticate the new material. But she declined to discuss it.

One of the newly uncovered emails was purportedly sent from Kimberley’s iPhone to Silvio Zammit on 14 February 2012 - Valentine’s Day.

One day earlier, on 13 February, Kimberley and Zammit met with Swedish Match’s director of public affairs, Johan Gabrielsson, at Peppi’s.

Kimberley had called Swedish Match on 10 February asking Gabrielsson to come to Malta. According to Gabrielsson’s account of events to Olaf, “she asked who in Swedish Match was able to make a financial commitment”.

Gabrielsson had dinner with Kimberley at Peppi’s on 13 February. At the meal, Kimberley lied to Gabrielsson, telling him she had attended the 10 February meeting with Zammit and Dalli. She told Olaf that at the end of the meal Zammit came over to the table and told Gabrielsson it would cost Swedish Match €60 million for a proposal to lift the snus ban.

She also told Olaf she was shocked and embarrassed by Zammit’s offer.

She added that she later conveyed her feelings to Gabrielsson: “I said to Johan [Gabrielsson] that when he asked for Silvio’s [Zammit] credentials, I did not have any idea he would ask for money”.

For his part, Gabrielsson told Olaf that he rejected Zammit’s offer but promised to convey it to his bosses in Stockholm.

His superiors also refused the offer and instructed him to cut all contacts with Zammit.

But the Valentine’s Day email - seen by this website - paints a different picture.

In it Kimberley tells Zammit: “Good morning Silv [sic], I hope you had a great evening at the casino. Johan [Gabrielsson] will get back to me soon and you really did a good job last evening. Better [€]60 [million] than 50 million, it is more a round figure and Matt [Kimberley’s husband, Matthew Kimberley] said we deserve it. Let’s hope for a better future, talk to you soon, Gayle.”

Despite her shock and embarrassment, she continued to speak to Zammit.

The Olaf report says that between February and July, the two exchanged approximately 20 telephone calls each and around 50 to 60 text messages each.

Was something else brewing?

From €60mn to €10mn

With Swedish Match and the €60 million no longer on the table, a new figure of €10 million now pops up in conversations.

Estoc secretary general Inge Delfosse gave Olaf a USB stick containing a recorded discussion on 29 March 2012 between herself and Zammit.

Olaf has declined to release the audio version. But a transcript in its leaked report shows Zammit telling Delfosse that a meeting with his “boss” would cost €10 million.

He doesn’t name Dalli, but he refers to a “high person” who is taking serious political risks.

“And obviously once he’s risking, the other companies [Swedish Match] which you represent, once, once it [snus] will be lifted, they are going to be, they are going to have a lot of, of … of, aah, of profit,” he says.

Zammit later told Olaf that his boss is "God". He then told the EU investigators that he meant Kimberley’s boss and that he often refers to both men and women in the masculine.

Another set of emails which is not included in Olaf’s report, but which was obtained and published by the Sunday Times of Malta in 2013, shows Kimberley and her husband, Matthew, instructing Zammit on what to say and what to write to Delfosse in the days leading up to the recorded Delfosse call.

On 29 February, Matthew Kimberley sent Zammit an email with the subject line “copy/paste proposal” with Gayle Kimberley in CC.

The email outlines a package of lobbying services that Estoc should pay for to Matthew Kimberley’s marketing company, You Rock.

The email speaks of “lobbying efforts and setting up of meetings with commissioner and his people”, among other services, and adds Gayle Kimberley’s CV.

Zammit then sent a mail to Delfosse on 8 March with the You Rock proposal. It was election day in Sliema, so maybe he was in a rush, but he left the phrase “copy/paste proposal” in the subject line.

Delfosse replied a week later asking for a more concrete offer.

Zammit forwarded Delfosse’s email to Gayle Kimberley. About an hour later Gayle Kimberley replied, this time with her boyfriend Iosef Galea in CC, and somewhat peeved that Zammit had left the “copy-paste proposal” phrase in his Delfosse correspondence.

“I trust you followed up the email with a phone call to explain to her [Delfosse] as what we discussed. What the results that you can achieve is [sic] and the total costs averaged for the services. Iosef told me he had to confirm that you did,” she says.

Just in case Zammit doesn’t get it, she spells out what to write to Delfosse in future correspondence and that he should sign the future message in his own name.

“Here is a suggestion on how to reply: Hi, Inge I should clarify I am offering these services alone and personally,” she says.

She adds that Zammit should continue, still in his own name, to say: “I use the company [You Rock] below as my consultants on EU law and public affairs. The bios of the company directors will tell you why. Huge experience in Brussels, I simply want to give you options regarding invoices if you should need a bill with a company with established expertise … If you do not need this, please feel free to discard”.

Zammit has never been to Brussels and the language used in the suggested text is nothing like his shaky English - he doesn’t use words like “bios”.

Kimberley maintains there is nothing incriminating about her You Rock email.

She denied any involvement in the €10 million offer and said she was writing to him because she was interested in using his contacts with Estoc to try to get a consultancy job at British American Tobacco (BAT).

Meanwhile, on 3 July 2012, Delfosse again called Zammit.

This time Olaf investigators were also on the line in their Brussels HQ, recording the conversation without his knowledge.

They had instructed Delfosse on what to ask but Zammit said nothing they could use.

Olaf's critics say the call was recorded in violation of EU and Belgian law, fuelling suspicion that Olaf was prepared to bend the rules in order to get to a “pre-arranged” verdict on the Dalli case.

Introduction - EU smoke & mirrors

Part I - From Peppi's to Barroso's

Part II - Malta's 'Mr Teflon'

Part III - Actors assemble for EU melodrama

Part IV - EU judges, Maltese mysteries, and Christians in the Caribbean

Part V - Dalli’s big tobacco theory

Part VI - A circumstantial EU hanging

Part VII - €60mn Valentine's Day gift

Part VIII - A scandal 'for the next 10 years' - the last article in the series will be published on Wednesday 12 November

Part VI: A circumstantial EU hanging

The EU’s anti-fraud office has no evidence in its report nailing Dalli and his accomplices on bribes which never exchanged hands in any case.

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.

Part V: Dalli’s big tobacco theory

John Dalli claims that his tough stand against tobacco as EU health commissioner led the industry to pull levers inside the European Commission to get him ousted from office.

Part VIII: A scandal 'for the next 10 years'

In her office on the 15th floor in the Altiero Spinelli wing of the European Parliament, German centre-right MEP Ingeborg Graessle shuffles some papers on a table and then pours two glasses of water.

Part III: Actors assemble for EU melodrama

The new EU health commissioner’s first known contact with a tobacco lobbyist was on 20 August 2010 at the five-star Kempinski Hotel on the Maltese island of Gozo.

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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.

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