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Swedish Match reveals 'snus bribe' sum

Swedish Match reveals 'snus bribe' sum

Published: 19 Oct 2012 15:03 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 Oct 2012 15:03 GMT+02:00

Tobacco producer Swedish Match claimed on Friday it was offered the opportunity to pay €60 million ($78 million) to thwart new EU tobacco legislation in a scandal that has cost Europe's top health official his job.

"I can say that those are the amounts we are talking about, and I'd also like to stress that for us the amount of money does not matter," company spokesman Patrik Hildingsson told AFP.

Health and consumer commissioner John Dalli said he had been asked to resign on Tuesday after he was cited in a tobacco-linked influence peddling fraud probe.

The European Commission announced his resignation on Tuesday "with immediate effect" following an investigation by OLAF, the EU's anti-fraud office, into a complaint by Swedish Match.

The Maltese commissioner has maintained his innocence, claiming he is the victim of a tobacco lobbying campaign to block tough new rules to make smoking less attractive.

In February, Dalli oversaw proposals that would tighten regulations on the use of flavouring in tobacco, which would have included non-tobacco products such as snus, or Swedish snuff.

Snus is a moist powder tobacco originating from dry snuff. Though its sale is illegal across the EU, it is manufactured and used in Sweden, which has an exemption, and Norway, which is not an EU member.

Hildingsson said the alleged €60 million bribe to a Maltese businessman with links to Dalli would have been paid in two installments, with €10 million due before new legislation was enacted and the remaining €50 million to be paid when the new rules were in place.

AFP/The Local

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Your comments about this article

16:53 October 19, 2012 by Grokh
bribery aka lobbying.
17:14 October 19, 2012 by byke
I love the idea that the head of a tobacco company is claiming this is exposure on moral grounds LOL.

Now, lets just imagine this was a set up (how very dare me).

Who has the most to loose?

A tobacco company that already knows a ban has been decided.

Or

A single politician risks loosing his job?

Hmmmm tough one LOL.

Reminds one somewhat of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case, which saw charges against him dropped after he resigned. Maybe Swedish Match could benefit from this mans resignation from these allegations and allow a previous decision to be re-reviewed.

Though their is no basis for Swedish Match to lie LOL
17:12 October 21, 2012 by Hisingen
This is only the tip of the EU iceberg. The top echelon are all as 'honest as the day is long', and if you believe that then you must also believe in fairies.

If any of them should shake hands with you, don't forget to count your fingers afterwards.
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