CEO has asked the European Council for copies of all Gayle Kimberley's applications for authorisation to undertake new activities since January 2011. The Council has refused to release any actual documents to CEO but, based on a list of documents which was provided, it appears that it has approved requests to undertake 'leave on personal grounds' ie. sabbaticals, although further detail about these requests has not been released. It is not known whether or not the European Council has specifically approved Kimberley's lobbying activities, detailed below. In December 2013, the Council confirmed to CEO that Kimberley remains “an official of the Council of the European Union”.
After six years at the European Council, Kimberley undertook a sabbatical, starting in January 2011. Up to that point, she had held a variety of roles at the Council but from January 2009 she had responsibility for, amongst other topics, the EU's Staff Regulations (which contain the EU's revolving door rules). (Information from European Council letter to CEO dated 9 July 2013).
After leaving the Council on sabbatical, she joined the Lotteries and Gaming Authority in Malta.
However, it is Kimberley's advocacy work on behalf of tobacco firm Swedish Match which particularly provokes concerns about the risk of conflicts of interest.
Gayle Kimberley's role in the Dalligate scandal
Kimberley was hired by Swedish Match (the tobacco firm at the heart of the Dalligate scandal) as their Maltese representative. Johan Gabrielsson, Swedish Match's Public Affairs Director (who also features on RevolvingDoorWatch), introduced Gayle Kimberley to the tobacco firm in November 2011. Swedish Match paid Kimberley €5000 to lobby then Health Commissioner John Dalli regarding tobacco policy, especially around their product snus. In December 2011, Gabrielsson and a colleague travelled to Malta to brief Kimberley on snus and to prepare her for a meeting with Dalli to be held in January 2012. Kimberley later reported in an email to Gabrielsson that “the meeting was CONFIDENTIAL and I was in no way representing SM [Swedish Match] just giving the objective position of snus producers and users!”.
In January 2012, Kimberley, Gabrielsson and Silvio Zammit (the Maltese 'fixer' who is another key figure in Dalligate) met together and Zammit allegedly asked Swedish Match for a multi-million euro bribe in order to get Dalli to lift the EU ban on snus sales. In February 2012, Gabrielsson told Kimberley not to have any more contact with Zammit.
But according to emails seen by The Sunday Times of Malta, Kimberley’s husband Matthew, forwarded a lobbying proposal to Mr Zammit at the end of February 2012, suggesting he should forward it to Inge Delfosse, the secretary general of the European Smokeless Tobacco Lobby (ESTOC). “Silvio, suggest you forward this to Inge. Gayle is in copy. You may like to wait for her input before sending,” Mr Kimberley says in the email. Below the note was a proposal which offered meetings and lobbying services with the “Commissioner and his people, among other things”, and Gayle Kimberley’s CV. It also proposed the use of You Rock Ltd, Matthew Kimberley’s marketing company, as “the vehicle through which the services will be provided.”
Among many shocking facts to emerge from Dalligate, it is of great concern that Kimberley was paid to lobby Commissioner John Dalli on behalf of Swedish Match and all while on sabbatical from the European Council. Kimberley is not in the EU Transparency Register; neither is You Rock Ltd. CEO has submitted a complaint about Swedish Match's use of unregistered lobbyists using personal contacts to approach commissioners.
CEO has made several attempts to contact Gayle Kimberley in advance of publishing this story but no response has been received.
Kimberley was questioned by Maltese police as recently as December 2013 about her role in the Dalligate affair.
Update - July 2014
In June 2014, Corporate Europe Observatory secured access to a previously-secret report from the supervisory committee of OLAF (the European anti-fraud office) on OLAF's investigation into Dalligate. The report says:
OLAF did not send any recommendation to the Council of the EU concerning the action that should be taken with regard to the Council staff member, Mrs K [Gayle Kimberley]. It must be noted that the Opinion of the ISRU [OLAF's Investigation Selection and Review Unit] highlights that the investigative findings indicate the possibility of breaches of Staff Regulations provisions by Mrs K. and indicates that the conclusions could deal also with these disciplinary issues.
CEO has raised this matter with the Council of the EU.
The Maltese media has covered the twists and turns of the Dalligate scandal closely and further information can be found below:
Staff regulations update
Under the revised Staff Regulations (to start 1 January 2014), permission can no longer be granted to an official who wishes to carry out lobbying or advocacy vis a vis their EU employer whilst on sabbatical. This is a useful step forward for the revolving door rules although loopholes remain, for example, this would not have prevented Kimberley (on sabbatical from the European Council) from lobbying a commissioner.
“It is shocking that the Council has allowed Gayle Kimberley, a member of its staff, whilst on sabbatical, to undertake paid lobbying activities including meeting a commissioner, let alone the fact that Kimberley has been heavily embroiled in the Dalligate scandal. It seems clear that the European Council needs to thoroughly revamp its revolving door rules and procedures and become far more vigilant in monitoring the activities of its staff whilst on sabbatical.”