Lawyer Gayle Kimberley told a court that OLAF officials – including its director Giovanni Kessler – repeatedly warned her to be wary of Silvio Zammit and former Commissioner John Dalli, as she testified in the court case against the former.
Mr Zammit is accused of bribery and trading in influence through his contacts with Mr Dalli, and Dr Kimberley today resumed her lengthy testimony. Last March, she had said that she had been present when Mr Zammit asked a representative of Swedish Match, Johan Gabrielsson, for €60 million for his assistance in lifting an EU ban on snus, a form of smokeless tobacco placed under one’s lip that is only legal in Sweden.
She recounted that she was on a work trip in Portugal, as a representative of the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, when she was approached by two OLAF officials, including Dr Kessler, who asked to question her on the matter.
The questioning lasted from around 9 to around 4, although this included a lunch break.
Iosif Galea, a colleague who she had an extra-marital relationship with, had accompanied her on the trip, and when the questioning finished, he asked what was wrong, and she said that she revealed that she had been questioned by OLAF and that the subject was Mr Zammit’s dealings.
She also said that OLAF had told her not to discuss the matter with anyone – adding that she swore Mr Galea to secrecy – and that the two officials made her understand that she should be afraid of Mr Dalli and Mr Zammit.
According to Dr Kimberley, Dr Kessler told her that as an Italian, he “knew how these people operated.”
Days later, she received a call from Mr Zammit, who said that he had found out that OLAF was asking questions on the snus issue, although he did not ask her any questions about any interview she might have had.
She said that she inferred that he came to know of this through Mr Dalli, since he had mentioned that they had talked recently.
Mr Zammit was questioned by OLAF in July, and Dr Kimberley said that an OLAF official called her soon afterwards, telling her to fear for her safety because Mr Zammit was very angry and agitated. She was advised not to leave her house, which was hardly ideal since she was going to a wedding that evening, and since her husband was travelling in two days.
Dr Kimberley testified that she discussed the matter with her husband, who went to talk to Mr Zammit and assess the situation. Her husband, she added, did not get the impression that Mr Zammit was a threat.
The case continues on 2 May, when Dr Kimberley is set to be cross-examined.