Two bribe requests ‘made by Zammit’
Police Inspector Angelo Gafà told the court of two alleged bribery attempts by Silvio Zammit yesterday, one made to Swedish Match in February and the other to ESTOC (European Smokeless Tobacco Lobby) in March.
Following an initial meeting at Mr Dalli’s office with Mr Zammit, lawyer Gayle Kimberley reported back to the Swedish company that she had a second meeting scheduled for February 10.
Dr Kimberley described this meeting as “very satisfactory”, adding that Mr Dalli appeared not to be averse to the idea of lifting the ban but needed facts.
A second meeting was scheduled for February 10, according to Dr Kimberley.
She actually told Swedish Match she had attended this meeting but, in fact, she had not, Mr Gafà pointed out.
Instead, she gave a note with questions to Mr Zammit which he would forward to Mr Dalli.
After this meeting, Dr Kimberley relayed a message from Mr Zammit to Swedish Match that lifting the ban on snus would require a payment on the part of the company.
Following this request, Johan Gabrielsson from Swedish Match flew to Malta and met Mr Zammit at his restaurant in Sliema. This is where the sum was first disclosed.
Mr Gabrielsson said Mr Zammit told him the ban on snus would be risky for Mr Dalli and therefore cost money. Mr Zammit allegedly pulled out a pill box with heart medication, offered the Swede a pill and then told him they would have to shell out €60 million.
Dr Kimberley appeared embarrassed at the offer and lowered her head, Mr Gabrielsson said.
He told the police that he was convinced the money was going to Mr Dalli given the level of knowledge that Mr Zammit, a circus impresario, had of the tobacco directive process.
Although he made clear that he could not decide on his own, Mr Gabrielsson said it was next to impossible for a listed company to make a payment of €60 million without anybody noticing.
Dr Kimberley was instructed by Swedish Match on February 21 to refuse the offer and to sever all ties with Mr Zammit.
Mr Zammit made a second contact with ESTOC secretary general Inge Delfosse, on March 8.
Following several e-mail exchanges and phone calls, Ms Delfosse recorded a conversation with Mr Zammit on her iPhone, in which he suggested he could arrange the initial meeting with Mr Dalli for €10 million.
Both before and after this conversation, phone records show, Mr Zammit called Mr Dalli, according to Inspector Gafà.