The European Union’s health commissioner resigned after he was accused of corruption.
John Dalli resigned after the European Commission’s anti-fraud office, OLAF, said that a Maltese businessman attempted to influence EU tobacco legislation through his connection with the commissioner.
The anti-fraud office found that the Maltese businessman approached Swedish tobacco company Swedish Match and offered to influence possible future EU tobacco legislation in exchange for some financial advantage from the company. The future legislation he spoke of would be regarding the EU export ban on the company’s Swedish tobacco product known as snus, a kind of moist powdered tobacco sold in Sweden and Norway but banned in the EU.
The anti-fraud office stressed that the businessman did not make any financial transaction with Dalli and that it found no conclusive evidence Dalli was involved, but said that Dalli was aware of these events.
Transparency International welcomed the steps taken by OLAF to investigate the allegations against Dalli. It stated that the incident “is a worrying sign that despite the efforts made in recent years to clean up, selling influence and personal connections may still be a feature of EU lobbying.”
Dalli denied the findings of the OLAF’s report, he said it was a tobacco industry set up and that his resignation was requested, not offered, the EU Observer reported.
He claimed that the affair was designed to derail a pending anti-tobacco law.
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