Former European Commissioner John Dalli had admitted to police in December that contrary to what he told OLAF investigators, his former canvasser Silvio Zammit had alerted him to the EU probe when they spoke on July 6.
Mr Dalli and Mr Zammit had in fact spoken on two occasions at key junctures of the investigation: the first time on June 17, when another suspect, Gayle Kimberley, alerted the Sliema restaurateur about the probe; and the second on July 6.
The detail is especially salient in light of the latest revelations that Mr Dalli travelled to the Bahamas on July 7, the morning following this conversation he had with Mr Zammit, in which he was allegedly alerted to the fact that OLAF had a recording in which the Sliema restaurateur asked for a large bribe to help amend EU tobacco legislation.
When Mr Dalli was first questioned by OLAF, he was asked if he had ever been told about the investigation by anybody else other than the anti-fraud office itself.
Mr Dalli said: “No, absolutely not. I have neither been contacted by anybody, nor taken initiative to contact anyone.”
However, multiple police sources confirmed that in December, Mr Dalli admitted to investigators that Mr Zammit had informed him about the probe.
When asked about this yesterday, Mr Dalli did not deny admitting this to the police, but instead questioned where the information had come from.
“How do you know what I told the police? Now you must tell me how you know this from the police?”Asked whether this was the case, Mr Dalli said: “No, No, I am asking you. I won’t speak to you anymore... you are telling me that the police told you... I am going to stop here...
“I have to see how it is possible for someone to give evidence and then the police go to a journalist just as they did when they told you that they were going to charge me. I don’t think it was the police but the OPM [Office of the Prime Minister under the previous administration] that told you.”
Only last month new Police Commissioner Peter Paul Zammit declared there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Mr Dalli on the basis of the OLAF report.
The police investigation was sparked after the EU anti-fraud agency had concluded last October that although there was nothing linking him directly to the bribe request, OLAF claimed there was “unambiguous circumstantial evidence” showing he was aware of it.
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