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Swedish Match fires against allegations it lied, altered ‘Dalligate’ story

| April 9, 2013

Swedish Match says that it has not lied nor altered its story during meetings about the resignation of the former EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Affairs.

John Dalli resigned in October, shortly before the commission unveiled its proposed revisions to the Tobacco Products Directive.

According to a story in Malta Today, the transparency watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) has submmitted a complaint to the transparency register secretariat against Swedish Match for allegedly violating the EU’s code of conduct for lobbyists. The complaint by CEO alleges also that Swedish Match lied to MEPs about ‘Dalligate’.

According to the story, Swedish Match’s public affairs director Johan Gabrielsson admitted to Green MEP José Bove that his company was asked to tell MEPs a misleading version of events of an attempt to solicit a bribe from it, ostensibly to reverse an EU ban on the sale of snus, which Swedish Match produces.

Asked about these allegations, Johan Wredberg, a spokesperson with Swedish Match’s public affairs department, stated in an email to TR that, in line with its commitment to cooperate with all the stakeholders seeking the truth in this matter, the company had welcomed and accepted several requests for meetings. “During those meetings we have never lied, nor altered our story,” Wredberg said. “We can only relate to our first-hand experience, which we have communicated in a transparent and consistent manner.”

Wredberg said that a Maltese police investigation was currently in progress and that, despite a sincere effort from its side to be cooperative, any and all information the company had shared with certain stakeholders had been twisted and used in a media campaign whose purpose was, to it, unclear.

Wredberg said Swedish Match did not see the benefits of such an approach, but rather saw it as one that could potentially obstruct the judicial process.

Swedish Match trusted that the truth regarding all of these events would be clarified once the Maltese police investigation was completed, Wredberg added.