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A spokesman for José Manuel Barroso has rejected allegations from two Green MEPs to the effect that the Commission President forced former health commissioner John Dalli to step down from his post without waiting for the results of a corruption investigation by the European Anti-Fraud Office.

The spokesman pointed out that Barroso demanded Dalli’s resignation because he believed that his Maltese colleague’s “position had become politically untenable”.

Dalli was allegedly aware that a close associate, Silvio Zammit, had demanded money from the Swedish tobacco lobby in exchange for favours from the former health commissioner.