The European Union's general court on Thursday dismissed action by former European Commissioner John Dalli, in which he applied for compensation for damages allegedly suffered as a result of the termination of his office.
In a statement, the European Court of Justice said Mr Dalli failed to show the existence of unlawful conduct on part of the European Commission or on behalf of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). He also did not establish a “sufficiently direct causal link between the conduct complained of and the alleged damage, or even the existence of the latter”.
Mr Dalli had sought compensation for the damage by the alleged “unlawful conduct of the Commission and OLAF”, connected with the termination of his office as European Commissioner in 2012.
Mr Dalli resigned the post of Commissioner following an investigation by OLAF into a complaint made in May by tobacco producer Swedish Match.
For the complaint to be upheld, case-law requires there have to be have been a sufficiently serious breach of a rule of law intended to confer rights on individuals, the Court said.
In this context, the Court rejected each of the seven complaints put forward by Mr Dalli concerning the unlawfulness of OLAF’s conduct.
The complaints alleged the unlawfulness of the decision to open an investigation, flaws in the characterisation of the investigation and the unlawful extension of it, the breach of the principles governing the gathering of evidence and distortion and falsification of the evidence, an infringement of the rights of the defence and of the principle of presumption of innocence and of the right to the protection of personal data.
The court also rejected two complaints put forward by Mr Dalli concerning the unlawfulness of the Commission’s conduct. The complaints alleged the violation of the principle of sound administration and of the duty to behave in a loyal, impartial and objective manner and to respect the principle of independence, and, secondly, the violation of OLAF’s independence.
Mr Dalli, however, failed to show the existence of unlawful conduct on the part of OLAF and the Commission. The European courts concluded that Mr Dalli “does not establish the existence of a sufficiently direct causal link between the conduct complained of and the damage alleged, or even the existence of the latter”.
An appeal may only be brought before the Court of Justice against the
decision of the General Court within two months and 10 days.
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