Witness confirms Silvio Zammit sought €60m
Gail Kimberly, one of the people questioned by the police in the Silvio Zammit case, told a court this afternoon that Mr Zammit had requested €60 million to use his services for the lifting of the EU ban on snus.
Mr Zammit, a former associate of John Dalli, is accused of trading in influence when Mr Dalli was EU Health Commissioner responsible for reviewing the Tobacco Directive. He is denying the charges.
The prosecution is claiming that Mr Zammit had asked for €60m from Swedish snus-maker Swedish Match for his assistance.
Dr Kimberly, a lawyer who worked for Swedish Match, was giving evidence during the compilation of evidence against Mr Zammit.
She said she had received a call from Swedish Match saying that they knew that Mr Zammit could set up meetings with Mr Dalli and they asked her whether she was interested in helping them. She had to legally analyse the snus issue and help the lobby for the ban to be lifted.
She had to help by providing, legal, scientific, competition, and technical arguments for the lifting of the ban.
The company asked her to confirm if the meeting with Mr Dalli could happen.
Silvio Zammit told her the meeting could happen.
Dr Kimberly said she had asked for €5,000 for her services.
Two company representatives, Johann Gabrielsson and Henrik Ohlsen came to Malta to brief her. They met at the Hilton. They agreed that the basis of their argument for the lifting of the ban was that there was no evidence to back the claim that snus caused oral cancer.
Mr Zammit told her that he had set up the meeting.
She met Mr Dalli at his Portomaso office in the presence of Mr Zammit and Iosif Galea. She gave a presentation of the company’s arguments.
Mr Dalli was very sceptical because of the corporate interests involved and did not react to her arguments. "It was not like talking to a wall, he understood much more. He was not preconditioned.”
She informed the company, and its officials later sought a second meeting with Mr Dalli.
They also suggested that Mr Dalli could nominate someone from his cabinet to liaise with instead of contacting him directly all the time.
Silvio Zammit told her that he did not want to nominate anyone from the cabinet, and he had no problems with anyone in the European Commission except the French because they were ‘snobs’.
Mr Dalli’s main concern was because of commercial interest and not because they had some noble cause, Mr Zammit had told her.
Mr Dalli refused to have a liaison officer and said the contacts should be through Mr Zammit.
Mr Zammit said and he had his price to the tune of millions. Dr Kimberly said she had not expected him to speak of millions.
She did not know who the money had to go through. Mr Zammit said that this was not a cause but a business and if they wanted to proceed, everything had a price for his involvement.
In another meeting, Mr Zammit said this was a very sensitive issue and the commissioner was not afraid of taking decisions. He then asked a company representative for €60 million. He did not say who this money was going to. He did say, however, that he would set up a meeting with Mr Dalli and Swedish Match and this had to be one to one.
The case continues.