The European Commission says the EU commissioner for health and consumer policy has resigned over allegations of corruption involving tobacco laws.
The commission said in a statement that John Dalli stepped down from his post on Tuesday, “following an investigation by OLAF, the EU’s anti-fraud office, into a complaint” by tobacco producer, Swedish Match.
The company alleged in May 2012 that a Maltese entrepreneur had used his contacts with Dalli to “try to gain financial advantages from the company in return for seeking to influence a possible future legislative proposal on tobacco products, in particular on the EU export ban on snus.”
“No transaction was concluded between the company and the entrepreneur and no payment was made,” the EU statement said.
The statement added that OLAF “did not find any conclusive evidence” of Dalli’s direct involvement in a scheme to profit from his office but it “did consider that he was aware of these events.”
Meanwhile, the Maltese health and consumer policy commissioner has “categorically” rejected the findings against him and vowed “to defend his reputation and that of the commission.”
OLAF’s final report and its recommendation are being sent to Malta and it is up to the Maltese judiciary to decide how to proceed.
Dalli’s duties will be temporarily taken over by European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic until a new commissioner of Maltese nationality is appointed.
Snus, or Swedish snuff, is a smokeless tobacco taken orally. Although snus sales are banned in the EU, it is manufactured and used in Norway and Sweden.
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