Former EU Commissioner John Dalli has described slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia as a “perverse criminal”, as he objected to Times of Malta reproducing an image on her blog linking him to secret company 17 Black. 

Dalli said reproduction of the February 2017 blog post was tantamount to “spinning the calumny of the perverse criminal Daphne Caruana Galizia and which she had fabricated without any attempt of any proof”.

In a letter to Times of Malta, Dalli, who was forced to step down as EU Commissioner in 2012, took the opportunity to lash out at the public inquiry into the journalist’s death. 

“In the long-drawn fishing expedition that we have seen unfolding under the guise of a public inquiry and which is financed by the Maltese taxpayer, a lot has been said about 17 Black. 

“No substantiation of this calumny has been attempted as it was evident that it was false”, Dalli said. 

Dalli accused Times of Malta of taking a “spiteful and brutish hallucinations of the perverse criminal as if they were inspired". 

He said this was another intentional, malicious attempt to involve him in allegations of criminal activities. 

No substantiation of this calumny has been attempted as it was evident that it was false

In a cryptic post on her blog in February 2017, Caruana Galizia had pasted the words ‘17 Black Dubai’ below the photos of Keith Schembri, John Dalli, Joseph Muscat and Konrad Mizzi.

It was later revealed that 17 Black was one of two Dubai companies which were supposed to transfer monthly fees of €150,000 to the Panama companies of Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri.

Caruana Galizia, who was killed in 2017, had uncovered a Ponzi scheme linked to Dalli, which saw US pensioners losing their life savings. 

Dalli’s daughters were subsequently charged in connection with the scheme soon after Caruana Galizia’s assassination in October 2017. 

Dalli was forced to resign as EU Health Commissioner after his former canvasser Silvio Zammit was accused of having solicited a bribe in exchange for the Commission overturning a ban on snus sales. 

A court ruled in October that Zammit’s rights had been breached over delays in the compilation of evidence against him. 

Dalli was never charged in connection with the alleged solicitation of a €60 million bribe, despite former Police Commissioner John Rizzo saying he wanted to proceed with an arraignment. 

Current Commissioner Angelo Gafà, who had worked on the Dalli investigation, said during an interview in September that he believed there still was a case against the former finance minister.

Dalli was elected to parliament in 1987, serving as both parliamentary secretary and minister until 2004. He was widely credited with modernising Malta's taxation system and was behind the creation of the financial services centre.

He resigned as minister in 2004 following another controversy and was reappointed in 2008 before Lawrence Gonzi appointed him as EU commissioner.


John Dalli’s letter in full

I refer to the article appearing today in your online portal entitled “Joseph Muscat: Nothing to add on 17 Black after inquiry admission” under the signature of Jacob Borg.

I am objecting to the photograph you reproduced to head this article, spinning the calumny of the perverse criminal Daphne Caruana Galizia and which she had fabricated without any attempt of any proof.  In the long-drawn fishing expedition that we have seen unfolding under the guise of a public inquiry and which is financed by the Maltese taxpayer, a lot has been said about 17 Black.  No substantiation of this calumny has been attempted as it was evident that it was false. 

Nonetheless,  you seem to take the spiteful and brutish hallucinations of the perverse criminal as if they were inspired.  This is another intentional, malicious attempt to involve me in allegations of criminal activities which you know are baseless.

Yours is not journalism.  It is odium.

I expect an apology.

This is only one of the many calumnies that the perverse criminal spun against me during 15 years of persecution.

Best Regards,

John Dalli

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