Gayle Kimberley, the Maltese lawyer turned prosecution witness in the John Dalli resignation affair, guided the lobbying attempts of the man facing criminal charges, according to e-mails seen by The Sunday Times of Malta.
The e-mails show Silvio Zammit, 48, receiving detailed feedback from Dr Kimberley on what he should say and write to lobbyists in Brussels.
She recalled having been very upset and annoyed with Silvio
But the lawyer, who had acted as the local representative for the tobacco company Swedish Match, always insisted with investigators that she had washed her hands of the whole affair after Mr Zammit allegedly asked for €60 million to help modify EU tobacco legislation.
The attempt led to the forced resignation of Maltese EU Commissioner John Dalli last October, rattling the EU’s executive.
According to a statement given by Dr Kimberley to the EU anti-fraud agency (OLAF) during their investigation, she recalled having been “very upset and annoyed with Silvio” for having put her in such a situation when he allegedly made this offer. “I made it clear to him that I was out of it,” she said.
A reportedly “embarrassed” Dr Kimberley asked Swedish Match public affairs director Johan Gabriellson to fly to Malta on January 13, 2012, so Mr Zammit could make his offer directly to him because she wanted nothing to do with it.
The three met at Peppi’s kiosk in Sliema and there, Mr Zammit allegedly asked the Swede for €60 million to help lift the EU-wide ban on snus – an orally-consumed form of tobacco which can only be sold in Sweden under current European law.
Mr Gabriellson said he would have to report back to his bosses but indicated immediately they were unlikely to go along with such an offer.
According to Swedish Match, on February 21, Dr Kimberley was told officially that the company was not interested.
But on February 29, Dr Kimberley partnered again with Mr Zammit in a second lobbying effort – the one which eventually led the Swedish Tobacco company to file a report with the EU, triggering the EU anti-fraud agency investigation and subsequent Maltese court case. Dr Kimberley’s husband, Matthew, forwarded a lobbying proposal to Mr Zammit, suggesting he should forward it to Inge Delfosse, the secretary general of the European Smokeless Tobacco Lobby (ESTOC).
“Silvio, suggest you forward this to Inge. Gayle is in copy. You may like to wait for her input before sending,” Mr Kimberley says in the e-mail.
Below the note was a proposal which offered meetings and lobbying services with the “Commissioner and his people, among other things”, and Dr Kimberley’s CV.
It also proposed the use of You Rock Ltd – Mr Kimberley’s marketing company – as “the vehicle through which the services will be provided.”
OLAF investigators had been made aware that Mr Zammit had forwarded a copy of Dr Kimberley’s CV.
However, she defended herself, claiming she had simply asked her husband to forward the document to Mr Zammit because he was helping her out with a job at British American Tobacco and he had misused it to give credibility to his second lobbying attempts.
Speaking through her lawyer, Dr Kimberley stood by this version of events. However, new e-mails being published today indicate Dr Kimberley was aware of how Mr Zammit was using her proposal and had even coached him in how to deal with ESTOC.
Mr Zammit forwarded the replies he received from ESTOC to the lawyer and her then lover Iosif Galea – who was also a good friend of Mr Zammit – and received feedback from her.
In one e-mail dated March 15, Dr Kimberley chided Mr Zammit for leaving the subject line of the e-mail exactly as he had received it from her husband. “Mela you left the title of e-mail “coy/past proposal”???,” she wrote. “I trust you followed up the e-mail with a phone call to explain to her as we discussed.”
She then proceeded to suggest the wording of an e-mail he should send to ESTOC. Mr Zammit did just that, and forwarded the message practically unchanged, but in his name.
The e-mails form part of a cache of data which was not available to OLAF or police investigators but which, Mr Zammit’s lawyers say, will cast a new light on the case.
In a judicial protest filed last month, Mr Zammit’s lawyers Edward Gatt and Kris Busietta went as far as alleging their client was “acting on Dr Kimberley’s instructions” when he asked for Swedish Match for the money.
Dr Kimberley’s lawyer had dismissed the claim as absurd. However, the police, which has treated her client exclusively as a witness, failed to respond to the protest, which demanded a re-examination of the case.
Lawyer insists ‘not time to be dealing with such issues’
A series of questions by The Sunday Times of Malta about the e-mails have remained unanswered.
However, Dr Kimberley’s lawyer Giannella de Marco insisted her client had been questioned at length by OLAF, the police and even Mr Zammit’s lawyers in court and that she had always cooperated.
OLAF, however, had flagged a number of contradictions in the three interviews Dr Kimberley had given and even suggested she should be prosecuted.
Maltese prosecutors, on the other hand, admitted in court that they never went through her mobile phone records to check the e-mails sent from it.
Dr de Marco also pointed to the timing of the revelations, since Dr Kimberley is in the late stages of pregnancy. “I seriously feel this is not the time for her to be dealing with such issues, and nor is this the way for a case to be seriously dealt with.”
She also questioned why Mr Zammit had not provided his evidence up for police scrutiny.
Reacting to this point, his lawyers referred to their judicial protests last month in which they asked the police to look again at the case.
“We have been waiting for a response ever since we filed the protest,” Dr Gatt said.
The Sunday Times of Malta has made repeated attempts to speak to Dr Kimberley ever since the case broke out in October. Questions about these e-mails were first sent to the Kimberleys three weeks ago.