Ex-EU health chief vows to fight bribe links
John Dalli resigned after the EU's anti-fraud office OLAF said he was aware of attempts by one of his associates to bribe a Swedish tobacco company in return for changes to EU tobacco legislation, and did nothing to prevent them.
Tobacco firm Swedish Match said a Maltese businessman asked the company for 60 million euros ($78 million) in order to use his links to Dalli to get him to propose an end to an EU export ban on snus, a type of snuff that is the company's main product.
A Swedish Match employee met the businessman in Malta after the latter sought contact, company spokesman Patrik Hildingsson told Reuters. The company notified the Commission of the alleged bribery attempt in May.
Dalli, who denies any knowledge of attempts to sell influence on his behalf, said he was forced to resign by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso without seeing the details of the OLAF investigation, and was refused access to legal advice.
Under EU procedures, commissioners are required to resign at the request of the president.
My intention is to challenge the decision of the president, to challenge the decisions of OLAF, and the way that OLAF has gone through the whole procedure, Dalli told a news conference in Brussels.
This is a very serious decision that Mr Barroso took, very
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