Sunday, 29 June 2014

John Dalli's conspiracy theory

Longtime readers will recall that John Dalli, the EU's former health Commissioner, was sacked after his friend, Silvio Zammit, attempted to get a €60 million bribe out of Swedish Match, the snus manufacturer, to overturn the EU ban on snus. Swedish Match recorded an incriminating conversation with Zammit and handed it to the EU's anti-fraud officials at OLAF.

OLAF then looked at Zammit and Dalli's telephone records and noticed that whilst they didn't call each other very often, they called each other a lot on the days that Zammit met with Swedish Match, with another spate of phone calls coming when they found out about OLAF's investigation. OLAF described this as "unambiguous and converging pieces of circumstantial evidence" and Dalli was asked to resign on the grounds that he had failed to report corruption—which he did.

It later emerged that Dalli had also taken "at least two trips to the Bahamas as part of an effort to arrange the transfer of tens of millions of dollars". This, combined with Dalli's weird behaviour and tinfoil hat accusations (which Barroso said were "incomprehensible") can be viewed as being consistent with a man who has something to hide.

Next month—nearly two years after Dalli's resignation—the Maltese politician will be in court to give an account of himself. He is not being taken to court by the EU, rather he is taking the EU to court for wrongful dismissal (despite the fact that he resigned). If a report in the magazine EuroPolitics is any guide, he will claim to be the victim of a remarkably wide-ranging conspiracy.

“The tobacco industry is behind this fraud. They planned and executed it, with the collaboration of the Commission. Swedish Match is connected to Philip Morris. This was not about snus. That was just a façade. It was about derailing the tobacco directive, which they succeeded in doing,” says the elderly Dalli, who does not hesitate to single out senior EU officials.

But, as Barroso has already explained, the directive was not derailed. It has gone through largely unaltered, with no amendment of the snus ban and with some unnecessary and counterproductive regulation of e-cigarettes thrown in. It underwent some amendments, as is usual, but they were mostly minor and had nothing to do with the Dalli scandal. On the contrary, there was pressure for the TPD to be passed quickly and with few amendments precisely because of the Dalli scandal.

Dalli establishes connections among all the protagonists: Swedish Match and Philip Morris had set up a joint venture in 2009 to market snus internationally. So they had common interests. Michel Petite is the Commission’s former legal services director and is today employed by a law firm, whose clients include Philip Morris. He was a very close friend of Commission Secretary-General Catherine Day and President José Manuel Barroso.
“Petite was the connection between the tobacco industry and the high-level Commission officials. [...] He had meetings with the Commission’s legal services about the tobacco directive, and as reported to me by SANCO staff, caused the Commission legal services to change opinions that they had earlier given to SANCO.” 

In other words, some people who work in Brussels know each other. One of them has, at best, a distant connection with a tobacco company.

Dalli asserts that the industry was not happy with his approach to revision of the tobacco directive. Petite therefore alerted Day and Barroso, who arranged to get rid of him.

Really? It's that easy, is it? An obscure, junior staffer tells the EU president to get rid of a Commissioner and the president immediately organises a giant conspiracy to do so?

What was Barroso's motive? He doesn't have one. What was Petite's motive? He doesn't have one either, really. The closest thing Dalli can find to a motive is the fact that Petite now works for a law firm that has a tobacco company on its books. What was Day's motive? She is, supposedly, a 'close friend' of Petite's. Pretty powerful guy, this Petite, isn't he? What is he, a hypnotist?

And how did OLAF become involved in this devious plot?

“They got [OLAF Director-General Giovanni] Kessler involved, I suppose by promising to appoint him as the future head of the European public prosecutor’s office." 

He supposes.

"Kessler was therefore personally out to get me,” says Dalli.

Sure he was. Everyone's out to get him.

He also highlights the connections among all the protagonists: “[Lobbyist] Johan Gabrielsson was hired by Swedish Match in October 2011, when everything began. That was no coincidence. I think he was hired because he knew [lobbyist] Gayle Kimberley [they had both worked at the Council’s legal service on enlargement]. Kimberley had an extra-marital relationship with one of Zammit’s friends, who knew me. Kimberley was possibly also the bait. But I have no proof. That is simply my interpretation.”

This is just a stream of non sequiturs and free association. The only thing missing is a reference to the Freemasons and the 'zionists'. It all sounds bonkers to me, but this could be the trial of the year.

1 comment:

Frank said...

The late Dr. Dunbar once gently chastised me when I complained about doctors. He said I should blame the Department of Health where the rules are made up.

That’s where the nutcases and sadists invent their new rules and doctors, earning fabulous salaries way beyond their efforts and skills, are practically all afraid to rock the boat and jeopardise their careers and pensions.

“I was wondering yesterday why nobody in government seems to realise that these doctors have all gone bonkers. It seems perfectly obvious to me. So why not to them?”

They are all bonkers too, or subversives or just hate-filled or simply ignorant and believe the bonker-merchants.

The MPs and MSPs I have met are simple. They are good at talking (somehow). They always have answers with which they expect to put you down with if you complain.

A former local councillor friend recently told me that the Health Board, which he used to work alongside, exists to protect the image of the NHS, not the wellbeing of the patient. I told this to a friend who works for the NHS (who never talks ill of anyone, normally) and she said they don’t look after their staff either.

It’s all a game; part of the bigger picture.

The dingbats,

haters and social engineers are chosen to rise to the top of their profession. that’s why we have ‘registered charities’ things like Forum for the Future,