Posts Tagged ‘Snuff’

Snuff case is just the tip of the EU corruption iceberg

October 17, 2012

Over the last 30+ years of doing business around the world the one certain indicator for me that corruption is rife and that a bribe is being solicited is when unforeseen delays occur in a permitting or licencing process and/or  when an “approval” is conditional or restricted. Politicians and bureaucrats everywhere use the bidding, procurement and regulatory machinery as their opportunity to line their pockets. And the appearance of sand in bureaucratic machinery is a sure sign that a politician or a bureaucrat is available to remove the sand or to oil the machinery – for a consideration.

The EU is probably the most sophisticated and successful corruptocracy in the world.

Yahoo (Reuters) reports on the latest case of EU corruption to come to light:

 The European Union’s top health official resigned on Tuesday after an anti-fraud investigation connected him to an attempt to influence EU tobacco legislation, the European Commission said.

The EU’s anti-fraud office OLAF found that a Maltese businessman had tried to use his contacts withCommissioner John Dalli, who is Maltese, for financial gain by offering to influence future EU legislation on tobacco products.

“The OLAF report did not find any conclusive evidence of the direct participation of Mr Dalli but did consider that he was aware of these events,” the Commission said in a statement, saying that Dalli had resigned with immediate effect.

Dalli has rejected the OLAF’s findings, the statement said. 

The statement said it was up to Maltese judicial authorities to decide if they wanted to pursue the case.

The OLAF investigation followed a complaint by snuff-and- cigar-maker Swedish Match in May 2012, saying that the businessman – who was not named – sought financial advantages in return for influencing Commission proposals, particularly on the EU’s current export ban on snus, a Swedish-style moist snuff.

“It’s unpleasant that these things happen. We can only hope that the process going forward to create a new directive is transparent and honest,” Swedish Match spokesman Fredrik Peyron said.

“We don’t know all the details that have emerged in this report. But if he has been involved in this it is reasonable (that Dalli resign).”

Snus, which is Swedish Match’s main cash cow, is banned in the EU for health reasons, except in Sweden which negotiated a permanent exemption in its EU accession talks in the 1990s.

Swedish Match hopes the European Commission will lift its ban on snus, which is put under the lip, mostly in pouches. The Swedish government has been pushing for a lifting of the ban, saying the health risks are not proportionate to the ban.

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