The Malta Independent 3 March 2024, Sunday
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Silvio Zammit, former aide to John Dalli, dies at 57

Friday, 11 February 2022, 08:46 Last update: about 3 years ago

Silvio Zammit, accused of soliciting a €60 million bribe in return to influence then European Commissioner John Dalli to lift a retail ban on smokeless tobacco, has died, the Sliema local council said.

He was 57.

Zammit, a restaurateur, was well-known in his hometown of Sliema, running the restaurant named after his father, Peppi ‘tal-Imqaret’, a seller of date-cakes. He was also an honorary president of the St Gregory’s band club, in Sliema, a former deputy mayor, as well as a circus and fairgrounds impresario.

In his ‘political’ role, the Nationalist activist was a canvasser for Nationalist ministers like Michael Refalo and Michael Frendo, before he was asked by the PN to canvass for John Dalli in 2008. In time, he became the short-lived deputy mayor of his hometown.

Between 2011 and 2012, Dalli, as European Commissioner, was spearheading a review of the Tobacco Products Directive, where he intended to keep up a ban on the sale of snus outside Sweden, the only EU Member State to have a derogation from the ban.

Zammit was suspected of complicity in the attempted bribe to help lift a ban on the chewable tobacco. 

A four-month investigation by the EU’s anti-fraud unit led to Dalli's resignation on grounds that there was enough circumstantial evidence that the Maltese commissioner was aware of the attempted bribe.

Dalli resigned on 16 October 2012 after a four-month investigation by the EU’s anti-fraud unit, led by its chief Giovanni Kessler. Zammit was later charged in December 2012.

 

Dalli was however only charged with the offence in 2022 – 10 years later. His case started to be heard earlier this week.

 

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