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Police: Silvio Zammit said payments had to be made directly to his 'boss' - Bail granted

Witness remembers Silvio Zammit mention €60 million in phone call

Gayle Kimberley and Iosef Galea

Gayle Kimberley and Iosef Galea

Updated - Adds evidence by Assistant Police Commissioner Michael Cassar

Iosif Galea, a witness in the case against Silvio Zammit said in court today that he had heard the Sliema businessmen mention the sum of €60 million during a phone conversation with Inge Delfosse, the secretary-general of the European smokeless tobacco council (ESTOC).

The sum is the same as the bribe which prosecutors claim that Mr Zammit asked for from ESTOC and Swedish Match in return for using his influence on John Dalli to ift a ban on smokeless tobacco (snus) - which can only be sold in Sweden under current EU rules.

Iosif Galea was giving evidence in the case instituted against Mr Zammit, 48, from Sliema, who is pleading not guilty to bribery, trading in influence and relapsing.

Later in today's sitting, Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Cassar said Mr Zammit had, in phone calls, said that payments had to be made directly to his boss anywhere in the world.

Mr Zammit was investigated by local police following a probe by the EU Anti Fraud Agency, Olaf, which, in October, forced the resignation of Mr Dalli from the European Commission.

During the same sitting this morning, Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Cassar gave details of phone calls involving Mr Zammit and Mr Dalli.

One of the key witnesses, Gayle Kimberley, did not turn up in court.

Instead, the court was presented with a medical certificate that she is in the early stages of pregnancy and is not fit to attend.

Dr Kimberley was head of EU and International Affairs at the Lotteries and Gaming Authority while she represented Swedish Match in meetings with then EU Commissioner Dalli.

Last week, Police Inspector Angelo Gafà said that Kimberly had been blackmailed over what to say in court. Police understood this blackmail to centre around an affair she had with Iosif Galea, a compliance officer at the authority.

During his evidence this morning Mr Galea was repeatedly warned to tell the court what he remembered. Magistrate Anthony Vella warned that he might be arrested until he remembered.

In his evidence he said that in October Silvio Zammit was abroad with a certain Mario Mercieca and Inge Delfosse.

He received a phone call from Mr Zammit asking him whether he knew a lawyer who specialised in EU law. Mr Galea said that at the time he was with Dr Kimberly in a Naxxar flat which belonged to Silvio Zammit.

He handed her the phone and he did not know what was said after that.

Mr Galea said repeatedly that he did not know much about the Tobacco Directive other than what was on the internet.

In January, he said, a meeting was held in John Dalli's office in Portomaso between Mr Dalli, Dr Kimberly and Mr Zammit.

Mr Galea said he had asked to go to the meeting solely to see dr Kimberly because they had been going through a difficult moment at the time.

He said that all he heard at the meeting was 'Tobacco directive' because he had received a phone call and moved to one side of the room. He said the meeting did not last more than eight minutes.

The prosecution wondered how he remembered that he received a phone call lasting five minutes, he remembered that the meeting lasted eight minutes, but he did not remember what was said. Mr Galea insisted, however, that he did not know what was said.

He said it was Mr Dalli and Dr Kimberly who were talking and Dr Kimberly was taking notes.

Mr Galea said when pressed, that he recalled a phone call between Mr Zammit and Ms Delfosse some three weeks before the local council elections. They spoke about Mr Zammit's candidature for Sliema council and the Tobacco Directive.

He said that all he heard was Mr Zammit mention €60 million.

At this time the prosecution asked him to explain further and he insisted he did not know. The court warned him not to hide information, but Mr Galea said he remembered the figure because it was extraordinary.

He said that when the phone call ended, Mr Zammit told him - 'I told her €60m because she bothered me with her phone calls.'

(In a sitting last week the police said that although Mr Zammit was overall uncooperative, at one point during interrogation, he suggested that he had asked for the bribe to 'get the snus people off his back'. )

In other evidence, Mr Galea said that Dr Kimberly had attended a conference in Portugal on behalf of the Gaming Authority. He was on leave but went with her.

He said that on the day that they arrived, she had a meeting with two men who interviewed her for a long time. Afterwards, she was crying, and she told him they were from Olaf and they had interviewed her on the Tobacco Directive. She told him not to tell Silvio Zammit.

He admitted, however, that he phoned Mr Zammit, telling him that Dr Kimberly had been interviewed by Olaf and that he (Mr Zammit) might be interviewed as well.

He repeated the warning when they returned to Malta.

Mr Galea said he had access to Dr Kimberly's e-mail. In June he found notes of a meeting with the Commissioner (Dalli). Dr Kimberly had sent this document to Olaf .

Galea said he downloaded the document, read it and informed Silvio Zammit about it but did not hand him a copy.

POLICE GIVE MORE DETAILS OF PHONE CALLS

Assistant Police Commissioner Michael Cassar said that on March 29, Inge Delfosse phoned Silvio Zammit and asked for a meeting with John Dalli.

Mr Zammit replied that a change to the Tobacco Directive would come at a cost.

Immediately after this phone call, Mr Zammit phoned Gayle Kimberly twice and John Dalli for a few seconds.

Mr Zammit then again phoned Inge Delfosse, asking for €10 million for a meeting 'with the boss' as a first instalment for lifting the ban on snus sales in the EU.

In other exchanges, Mr Zammit said that payments had to be made directly to his boss anywhere in the world.

AC Cassar also confirmed that John Dalli was issued with an arrest warrant when he was interrogated on November 12.

During cross examination, AC Cassar was asked what the Olaf report had said about Mr Zammit.

Mr Cassar hesitated, saying that the report implicated third parties about whom investigations were ongoing.

Pressed further by the court to quote the part about Mr Zammit, Mr Cassar said the report concluded that: "If Mr Zammit was acting on behalf of Mr Dalli and if Mr Dalli knew about it, then Mr Zammit's actions qualify as an act of bribery under Maltese law, but if he was using Mr Dalli's name to impress Swedish Match, then Mr Zammit's actions can qualify as trading in influence."

Mr Cassar was then asked which one of these had resulted.

Mr Cassar said Mr Zammit was definitely using Mr Dalli's name (for trading in influence).

Mr Cassar was also asked by the defence whether the suggested monetary figures had been suggested by Gail Kimberly. He said that had not resulted.

At the end of the sitting Mr Zammit was granted bail against a deposit of €25,000, a personal guarantee of €75,000.

He started crying as the bail decision was announced. His defence counsel, however, said the bail money was too high. Magistrate Anthony Vella refused.

 

 

 

 

 

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