"The tobacco lobby is not demonstrating enough transparency in the Dalli case", said Inge Gräßle MEP, EPP Group Coordinator in the European Parliament's Budgetary Control Committee, following the refusal, despite prior agreement, of the tobacco company Swedish Match to answer 54 questions tabled by the Budgetary Control Committee. The refusal by Swedish Match was sent to the Members of the committee.
"The questions to the tobacco lobby regarding the Dalli case remain unanswered. There are still many inconsistencies. It is a pity that the tobacco lobby has no interest in dispelling them", Mrs Gräßle said.
The inconsistencies are:
- Why has Swedish Match waited two-and-a-half months with its complaint about the alleged demand for money?
- Why did tobacco lobbyists illegally tape telephone conversations? How much was OLAF involved?
- Why were there several contacts after the complaint between the lobbyists and the Maltese person who allegedly asked for money?
- Why did the tobacco lobby use persons not registered in the EU's transparency register?
- Why did the tobacco lobby deliberately look for access to persons with private contact with the Commissioner?
- What was the month-long phase declared by Swedish Match as a preservation of evidence prior to the complaint about the alleged demand for money?
- According to Swedish Match it asked the Swedish Government for advice. The Swedish Government has no knowledge of such a request.
"It is obvious that the Dalli case must have consequences for the future of lobbying in Brussels", Inge Gräßle said. She also criticised the renewed nomination before Christmas 2012 of Michel Petite, a lawyer working for Phillip Morris and former head of the legal service, into the ethics committee which supervises lobbying rules as "lacking instinct and an impossible act".
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 270 Members and 3 Croatian Observer Members.