Monday, 1 July 2013

Dalli, The Bahamas, And Millions Of Mysterious Euros

In October last year, e-cig trade body ECITA wrote an article about the summary dismissal of John Dalli, EU Health Commissioner at the time and drafter of the appalling Tobacco Products Directive currently slithering its sleazy way through Brussels

To recap, he was sacked personally by EU President Barroso after the anti-corruption body Olaf found what they called "unambiguous circumstantial evidence" that he - through intermediaries - had solicited €60m in bribes from snus manufacturer Swedish Match.

Four months later in February, a lone comment popped up under the ECITA article with a teasing nugget of info.
Edward Butters says:
February 18, 2013 at 6:33 pm 
Would anyone be interested that John Dalli visited the Bahamas with his daughter in Aug and Sept 2012. Rented a seaside million dollar mansion and had discussions with Bahamians about transferring tens of millions of $’s to the Bahamas? More info available.
Well, I was certainly interested. So, with the help of @TheMorrigan1972, tracked the guy down to ask a few questions. Sadly, he wasn't too thrilled with talking to a mere blogger so I pointed him in the direction of EU-centric journos who might be motivated to write it up, but not before teasing out a couple of juicy alleged tidbits about the case.

Today, however, The International Tribune has revealed this shady trip to the Bahamas on its front page.
What made Mr Dalli so tired during those meetings in Cyprus, however, is now finally clear. He had flown more than 16,000 kilometers, or 10,000 miles, for a weekend in the Bahamas as part of a quest to move tens of millions of dollars. 
Asked about the previously undisclosed trip on July 7-8 to a Caribbean island known for its secretive banks and sun-swept beaches, Mr Dalli said in a telephone interview Friday that he had gone to meet unidentified friends. He said he returned at least once in the summer as part of efforts to arrange financing for a philanthropic project. 
Barry Connor, a Bahamas resident who rented Mr Dalli’s family a villa on the island, said he recalled being told by Mr Dalli that he planned to transfer “large amounts” of money for an unspecified venture. 
Asked about sums of up to $100 million, Mr Dalli said that the money was not for him, that he was acting on behalf of other people who wanted to set up a “trust” and that the project was “very personal”.
The Times of Malta has picked up on it and is reporting that ...
OLAF, the EU anti fraud agency, may reopen its case against former Commissioner John Dalli after it learnt that he travelled to the Bahamas last summer as part of a quest to move millions of dollars, the International Herald Tribune reports today.
Dalli, of course, is denying that he has done anything wrong. Again, it is simply that the world is out to get him.
“This is all conjecture without any sense... people are still trying to smear me,” Mr Dalli said.
Maltese blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia has been running a series of interesting articles all day on this development, with her summation of Dalli's explanation being the best bit in my opinion.
No doubt, two of the world’s most reputable newspapers are in a conspiracy with Saviour Balzan’s Queen of Bile, evil bloggers, gOnziPN, Giovanni Kessler, Jose Manuel Barroso, the nasty European Commission, and the mysterious agents who hacked Dalli’s email account and called him J Dalli BA. 
I am sure his psychiatrist – a man I mention because his medical certificates were so much in the news when he certified Dalli unable to get on a plane because of ‘psycho-social’ problems – has a name for this disorder, which unites persecution mania with the ability to convince oneself that one is absolutely innocent at all times, even when one is not. 
Enough of this nonsense. Really, enough.
It certainly does seem to be a 'scandal' which has more in and outs than a 24 hour multi-storey car park, but the whiff surrounding Dalli still won't disperse. No wonder they made him 'step outside' the EU building that day in October ... or, as Galizia puts it.
This is enough for the European Commission to open a fresh investigation/case against him. 
And quite frankly, they should sue us for inflicting somebody so substandard on the Commission in the first place. Damn shame he got through the grilling.
Now, I have no idea if Dalli is guilty or just incompetent as a natural result of the EU's daft appointment criteria. But there is little doubt that controversy seems to follow him around wherever he goes ... and that it is always about money. Probably why the tobacco control industry have gone very quiet about their initial hilarious conspiracy theories, he certainly isn't someone I'd personally feel confident in backing with my reputation. Indeed, Private Eye could perhaps dig up something juicy themselves if they weren't such a sad shadow of the organ that used to embarrass establishment years ago.

Meanwhile, the tobacco products directive Dalli wrote continues to be adopted despite serious question marks still hanging over his integrity; despite Dalli ignoring the consultation on snus and justifying it on the basis that there are responses hidden away at the back of his sofa (hmm, millions of mystery euros 'privately' hidden away rings a bell, doesn't it?); and despite his showing he knows absolutely nothing about e-cigs.

The entire directive has been an exercise of incompetence, chicanery and dodgy dealing from start to finish; a damning indictment of arrogant EU self-regard and waste. Can we leave yet?


Ivan D said...

The EU may be incompetent. bureaucratic, corrupt and dishonest but I don't see how leaving will help. In the UK we have a Prime Minister spouting untruths about the health benefits of smoking bans, our government has wasted a vast amount of time and money "consulting" on "plain packaging" a consumer product, our bureaucrats have decided unilaterally that e-cigs are medicine and our smoking legislation is more Draconian than that imposed in Sweden. I think that we might actually be better off in the EU based on our track record.

harold said...

Thank you for this funny write-up!
Your Tribune link went to the July, 2, NHT cover. The article can be viewed below.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Thanks Harold, link amended. :)

Dick_Puddlecote said...

That's a decent point, but I reckon Westminster would be more thorough in recognising objections from their own electorate if they weren't playing the big 'I Am' in Brussels and jostling for a slice of the EU pensions gravy train.

J Johnson said...

Thank you for the kind mention sir.I only wish there had been jounalisitic interest in the Dali story before the horrible entrenchment of the TPD.

Junican said...

It would take only one State in the EU to say, "What is this shit about the possible harm of ecigs? They are 100 TIMES less likely to cause harm than tobacco cigs. 100 times equals a person drinking one bottle of wine a day as compared with a person drinking 100 bottles of wine in a day. Such a thought is silly, and yet it illustrates the mortal consequences of continuing with the aristocratic 'leadership' of the EU.

The whole situation with the EU set-up is reminiscent of pre-revolution France. Regardless of the 'apparent' democratic processes, the reality is that the 'aristocrats' decide. The situation is reminiscent of the Roman Senate of 2000 years ago.

I believe that the EU could have wonderful possibilities. It is terribly unfortunate that it has begun with demonising individuals who enjoy tobacco.

What can be done?

In the first place, it would be imperative to side-line the health zealots along with the Climate Change Zealots. De-fund the lot of them. Insist that only one university is involved and only one will be funded. Insist that any study intended to influence public policy should be published on-line for all to see, Insist that THE EVIDENCE is published IN ITS ENTIRETY FOR ALL to see. No more hiding behind paywalls, in respect of any study which might influence public policy.

These things are ABSOLUTELY OBVIOUS, and have only been ignored because politicians are obsessed by other things, such as their own benefits. It is clear beyond reasonable doubt that they are not obsessed by their duties as protectors of the people's freedoms.

There is no way, or no excuse, that the smoking ban could be considered to be legitimate public policy. The matter was not even remotely properly discussed. Only when the proposition of the ban was far advanced were the reasons (health of bar workers) advanced. By that time, there was not sufficient time to advance the contrary arguments (being, "present ONE person who died as a result of SHS")

If the Zealots cannot do so, then they are charlatans. That is, they are manipulating the Government to feed them.

Junican said...

In the same way that the Daily Mirror poll has revealed a HUGE majority that opposes the smoking ban, it is clear that a huge majority wish to totally remove the cost of the the anti-smoker Zealots. These people will disappear as soon as the money disappears.
Having said that, taxpayers have a reasonable right to expect reimbursement of all the monies which the Zealots have stolen. Some are more guilty than others. One can understand the advertisers of ASH, but one cannot contemplate the punishment of the academics, like Linda Bauld, as other than imprisonment.

JonathanBagley said...

O/T From today's ASH news. Boss of Totally Wicked in trouble for questioning motives and integrity of Mr Mean and Ms McAvan. Puts him in the company of thousands.

Sam Duncan said...

Is Private Eye still going, then? Methinks Hislop spends too much time on the telly laughing at his own jokes.

Now I come to think of it, is *that* still going?

Joseph Ellul-Grech said...

You are not saying anything new. I have been insisting that John Dalli is a lying, deceitful and CORRUPT politician for many years. Dalli framed me in revenge because I reported his involvement in one of the biggest fraud cases in Maltese history. I do not make any allegations unless I have evidence to support them.

In Malta it is not just John Dalli who is corrupt. The police, the judiciary, many politicians and the clergy.

As for the comments posted on this blog, they are totally away from the subject. This subject is political corruption across the EU and Brussels.

harold said...

Joseph, your comment reminded me of this Malthese cartoon: