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Silvio Zammit says he worked as a lobbyist and everything was above board

Silvio Zammit

Silvio Zammit

The Sliema businessman who is at the heart of the allegations which caused John Dalli to resign from the European Commission this evening said he was strongly denying wrongdoing on his part.

Reacting to statements made by the Director-General of OLAF, the European Anti Fraud Office, Mr Zammit said he had never received any payment from the Swedish company Swedish Match or ESTOC (European Smokeless Tobacco Council).

"My role was that of a lobbyist and my contribution in the matter was above board and regular, in consonance with established practices.  Furthermore, I confirm that I was contacted by the foreign party and it was them that set the ball rolling.

"I will leave no stone unturned to prove that I am extraneous to the case and demonstrate that Olaf’s conclusions are erroneous and seriously baseless – and cannot be substantiated by evidence, not even circumstantial evidence. I strongly feel that OLAF have seriously misinterpreted the evidence they have in hand. I will not, for this moment, try to interpret why such a turn of events may have come about."

Mr Zammit said he had resigned from Sliema council, where he was Deputy Mayor, in order to be free to defend myself, his integrity and reputation.

OLAF head Giovanni Kessler said early this afternoon that the Maltese businessman (whom he did not name) initially had a normal relationship as a lobbyist but matters changed when he requested a substantial amount of money. He claimed that Mr Dalli knew of such trading in influence, something which Mr Dalli denies.

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