Appeal for transparency over tobacco lobby’s role in Dalli inquiry

| January 8, 2013

“The tobacco lobby is not demonstrating enough transparency in the Dalli case*,” according to Inge Gräßle, MEP and EPP (European People’s Party) group co-ordinator in the European Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee. [*John Dalli resigned in October as European Health Commissioner after allegations linked him to a businessman who allegedly approached Swedish Match and offered to meet with Dalli regarding the EU’s policy on snus in exchange for €60 million.]

Gräßle’s comment followed what she said was the refusal, despite prior agreement, of Swedish Match to answer 54 questions tabled by the committee.

“The questions to the tobacco lobby regarding the Dalli case remain unanswered,” she said. “There are still many inconsistencies. It is a pity that the tobacco lobby has no interest in dispelling them.

“It is obvious that the Dalli case must have consequences for the future of lobbying in Brussels”, Gräßle said.

The inconsistencies were listed as:

* ‘Why has Swedish Match waited two-and-a-half months with its complaint about the alleged demand for money?

* ‘Why did tobacco lobbyists illegally tape telephone conversations? How much was OLAF [the EU’s anti-fraud office] involved?

* ‘Why were there several contacts after the complaint between the lobbyists and the Maltese person who allegedly asked for money?

* ‘Why did the tobacco lobby use persons not registered in the EU’s transparency register?

* ‘Why did the tobacco lobby deliberately look for access to persons with private contact with the Commissioner?

* ‘What was the month-long phase declared by Swedish Match as a preservation of evidence prior to the complaint about the alleged demand for money?

* ‘According to Swedish Match it asked the Swedish Government for advice. The Swedish Government has no knowledge of such a request.’

The 54 questions asked of Swedish Match are at:

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