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Pressure grows for Dalligate truth: CEO complaints on Swedish Match and OLAF

The Dalligate scandal entered a new stage last week when Swedish Match admitted that they knew that the second of two lobby meetings with Mr. Dalli, where an alleged 60 million euro bribe was offered, had not in fact taken place, and claimed that it was EU anti-fraud agency OLAF that had instructed them to stick to the erroneous story. This creates even bigger doubts about the "unambiguous circumstantial" evidence in the OLAf report that Commission President Barroso used to force Mr. Dalli to resign. The urgency that Barroso and OLAF end the secrecy around Dalligate and put the facts on the table has never been greater.

Corporate Europe Observatory has today taken several new steps to increase the pressure on Barroso and OLAF to clear the smoke:

  • CEO has submitted a complaint to the Transparency Register secretariat against Swedish Match for violating the EU's Code of Conduct for lobbyists. The complaint includes Swedish Match's unethical lobbying (going to Malta to find Dalli's personal contacts, who could enable the company to access the Commissioner, and hiring unregistered lobbyists in the process) as well as the fact that the company has lied to MEPs about Dalligate.
  • CEO has submitted a complaint to the European Ombudsman against OLAF for its secrecy around Dalligate, specifically for rejecting access to the investigation report on the Dalli case. CEO had requested (partial) access to the report on the basis of the EU's freedom of information law, but OLAF rejected this with a series of unconvincing arguments, including that there is no overriding public interest in the disclosure of the report.
  • CEO has submitted several new freedom of information requests, including two requests aimed at uncovering more about Swedish Match lobbyists who went through the revolving door from the EU institutions. Swedish Match "public affairs director" Johan Gabrielsson is a former European Commission official, and lawyer Gayle Kimberley (hired by Swedish Match to gain access to Mr. Dalli) was previously in the EU Council's legal services department in Brussels. CEO has also submitted a request for all correspondence between the Commission's Secretariat-General and Michel Petite. Mr Petite is the former head of the Commission's legal service turned lawyer for big tobacco, who was recently re-appointed to the Commission's ethical committee - our request aims to find out if Mr Petite played any role in the Commission's handling of Dalligate.

The longer the Commission and OLAF remain silent about what really happened in the Dalligate cash-for-access tobacco lobby scandal, the more damage is being done to public trust in the institutions. Green MEPs have now called for a special committee to be set up, to address the shortcomings in the EU's ethics rules and lobbying regulation that Dalligate has illustrated so clearly. CEO supports this as a crucial step to clearing the smoke around Dalligate and ensuring that scandals like this do not happen in future.

Comments

Submitted by Functions used ... (not verified) on

How this could come that the Director of OLAF is doing investigative tasks …selectively, only in Dali case? Is this task written in Mr Kessler job description? In the rules is no provision in this regard.
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:1999:136:0020...
The European Parliament raised the issues of some other investigations at Environmental Agency in Copenhagen, where Mr Kessler did not participate as investigator like he did in Dali case. Why this discrimination? Where else Mr Kessler participated as investigator during his mandate?
Did Mr Kessler use his functions correctly, as they are stipulated in rules and job description…or those functions were wrongly used?

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