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Police: Kessler interrogation illegal in ‘Dalligate’

| April 24, 2013

OLAF director-general Giovanni Kessler had no authority to carry out an interrogation on Maltese territory, a senior police officer privy to the John Dalli investigation, according to a story in MaltaToday.

In comments that followed yesterday’s presentation of the OLAF supervisory committee’s annual report, which highlighted questionable legal practices employed by Kessler in his investigation of a bribery allegation, doubts have now been raised over the EU anti-fraud agency’s investigation it carried out Malta during the summer of 2012.

Giovanni Kessler had come to Malta to interview businessman Silvio Zammit, who is today accused of having solicited a €60 million ($77.9 million) bribe from Swedish Match in return to influence tobacco laws that banned the sale of smokeless tobacco snus.

Kessler had been aided by Rita Schembri – then a member of OLAF’s supervisory committee – who served as the head of the Prime Minister’s internal audit and investigations department (IAID) and of the anti-fraud coordinating service (Afcos) which liaised with OLAF, in organising the interview.

The interview was carried out at the IAID offices in Valletta after Silvio Zammit was approached by Kessler and Schembri at his Sliema kiosk.

“I’m baffled at the amateurish interrogation methods employed by Kessler and the fact that he ignored his legal obligations,” the senior police source told MaltaToday.