“Dalli flew to the Bahamas after being alerted to EU probe,” runs the headline in Maltese daily The Times of Malta over an article explaining that former European Health Commissioner, John Dalli, flew to Nassau in July 2012, just hours after he was warned by his lawyer, Silvio Zammit, of the existence of a recording implicating him in wrongdoing.
Zammit heard the recording when he was questioned by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) during an investigation into claims he offered to trade influence for cash. Zammit was recorded asking for a €10m bribe from a representative of the Swedish tobacco industry so that he would pressure Dalli into modifying anti-tobacco regulations. The Times story comes a day after an article published in the Paris-based US daily, the International Herald Tribune saying that on July 12, 2012, the day after the call from Zammit, Dalli interupted a trip to Cyprus to spend several hours in the Bahamas “as part of an effort to arrange the transfer of tens of millions of dollars,” the IHT says. The money was destined “to help people in Africa,” Dalli told the paper.
Commenting on the IHT story to The Times of Malta, Dalli “dismissed the newspaper report as a “blatant lie” aimed at tarnishing his reputation”. Asked by the IHT about Dalli’s trips to the Bahamas, OLAF officials said they were unaware of the trips and that “the office would look into the matter.”