3 - John Dalli EU Commissioner - His False Witness No 3


In the Magistrates’ Courts of Malta
Being a Statutory Court
Magistrate Dr. Noel Cuschieri BA., LL.D

Today 30th November 1999

The Police (Assistant Commissioner Michael Cassar)


Joseph Ellul Grech

The Honourable John Dalli son of
Carmel born in Qormi and residing
In Balzan in Maltese and under oath
in the presence of the defendant.

Defence:    Can I see the document? So Honourable I am showing you document RC17 can you tell the court, that document is it all forged or does it have parts of it that are forged? If it is all forged, state if it is all forged or if part of it, tell us the part that it is forged?

John Dalli:   I think it is all forged.

 Defence:   Which parts are forged?

John Dalli:   The address is false.

Defence:   Falsified in which way?

Magistrate:   That it is showing something that is not true.

Defence:   Yes but falsified in which way?

Magistrate:   What is in that document that is bad information?

John Dalli:   I, hang on a minute, here is a letter from HSBC Mr. Magistrate and I show you the way it is and it says the document could not and has never existed. And I continue to say that because of the account number did not exist in 1987 the address could not exist either because I moved to that address in 1990. That is all I can say.

 Magistrate:   But it’s true?

John Dalli:   The address is wrong and I have no idea about the transactions. It seems that from the HSBC document it cannot be really compared with the part of the statement there is here.

Defence:   Meaning that on the 1 June 1994 you did not have US Dollar account 322.210?

John Dalli:   No, exactly.

Defence:   You did not have because you did not have any money in the Midland Bank Trust Corporation or on that day…

Magistrate:   Ask questions on that account and on the letter.

Defence:    Good. When you noticed that document was falsified Honourable Dalli. Could it be because you never had a banking relationship with Midland Bank and of course naturally this could not exist in the real truth and it could be that you had a banking relationship with Midland Bank Trust Corporation Jersey Ltd but not in the was that is being presented in this document.

John Dalli:   The truth is that the account number that is specified in that document could not have been used with those transactions because the account number stopped being used in 1987 and the transactions show transactions in 1994. The account number stopped being used in 1987 and I started to reside at that address in 1990. That could not be true because…

Defence:    So we are agreeing that the second one did exist and that there was a banking relationship but not in the way that it is being projected on this document.

John Dalli:   No it could not have been in the manner it is presented in that document because in that document exists a contradiction in it. What I am saying is not a dispute… because those documents contradict themselves.

Defence:   Was there an account with Midland Bank Trust Corporation Ltd where you had funds invested in your name and this document was fixed and falsified and its result is this document RC17. Do we agree?

John Dalli:   Yes that is it because that account stopped being used in 1987.

(Here Dalli is confirming that he had undeclared funds in the said account.)

Defence:   So there is a document in your possession or in the possession of HSBC that could be said that it is that document that has been altered and that it could be presented to this court either by you or from the Bank.

John Dalli:    Now what has that got to do with it? (It’s got a lot to do with it).

Defence:    There are parts of this document that are a reflection of the truth?

John Dalli:    That it was mine for example. Is true.

Defence:    So we are agreeing…

John Dalli:    Hang on a minute, it is true that I to day live at 272 Main Street, Balzan for example the date on that account proves that the account was not in use and I did not reside at that address. So what is true and not true in relation to the truth? I can only ask what is true is not true because everything has to be related.

Defence:   But you and HSBC are agreeing that it cannot be good (true).

John Dalli:   But HSBC did not get involved regarding the address Mr. Magistrate.

Defence:   But you are saying? Meaning that 272 Main Street, Balzan cannot be. But John Dalli esquire on the address could be?

John Dalli:   It could.

Defence:   I wish to suggest to you that not that it could be, but is.

John Dalli:   John Dalli? Yes it is.

Defence:   Now, meaning that J. Dalli esquire is real and is taken from one document?

John Dalli:   Now look here. It is the document I want to see Mr Magistrate.

Defence:   So RC4 and RC5 what have you to say about them?

(One of these Midland Bank Trust Corporation Jersey Ltd., is addressed to J. Dalli Esq. C/o J.E. Grech (being Joseph Ellul Grech and his UK address).

John Dalli:   I have already said when the assistant police commissioner asked me, that those are copies of my bank statements from when I was working in Brussels and I deposited some money there.

(John Dalli returned to Malta late 1979. The statements were dated 1984 and 1985. One dated 27/9/84 with a balance of US $ 46, 129.09. The other statement was dated 30/4/85 with a balance of US $62, 504.90. This confirms that John Dalli was using the account long after he returned to Malta. It also confirms that Dalli was using the account and making deposits during the period he was in Malta and not declaring it).

Defence:   Now do you still have an account with Midland Bank Trust Corporation?

Magistrate:   We must stay in that parameter meaning that document.

Defence:   But why am I asking on that document that is being said that it was falsified? So that we will be uniform with the document that is in front of us. In 1994 Honourable Dalli did you have an account with Midland Bank Trust Corporation Ltd?

John Dalli:   I at the end of 1994 did not have an account with Midland Bank Trust Corp. Jersey Ltd.

(Dalli is admitting that he had an active account earlier in 1994. In April 1999 John Dalli had sold Mid Med Bank, the largest bank in the Maltese islands to HSBC. HSBC was the same bank that took over the Jersey bank where Dalli had his off shore account. He had sold Mid Med Bank for a pittance without authority behind the back of the cabinet. Allegedly John Dalli and the other two involved with him received a substantial commission which is normal practice in a takeover like this).

 Defence:   Allow me to put the question to you in an open manner; meaning you did not have a banking relationship as deposits with Midland Bank Trust Corp. Jersey in 1994?

John Dalli:   I did not have at the end of 1994.

(Second admission that he did have a banking relationship prior to the end of 1994. So by his admission he did have an off shore bank account prior to the end of 1994 that he did not declare in his tax returns or his Parliamentary Declaration of Assets).

Defence:   Now these documents RC4 and RC5 the address England c/o, one in Liverpool and another address in Buckinghamshire. Both of them are in England. Do you recognise these addresses?

John Dalli:   No I do not.

Defence:   If I told you that these were addresses that Mr. Ellul Grech resided at what would you
tell  me.

John Dalli:   I do not know. I cannot confirm these addresses or that I used to receive them.

Defence:   Would I be right in saying that Mr Ellul Grech used to look after your financial affairs overseas in the sense that he used to receive these documents from Midland Bank Trust Corporation Jersey ltd?

John Dalli:   He did not look after my financial affairs.

Defence:   No, he did not look after your financial affairs but he used to receive these with your consent.

John Dalli: I do not remember.

(Dalli pretends he could not remember. The bank could only send their correspondence to a particular address if they were instructed to do so by the account holder i.e. him. Any instructions to a bank are screened before being implemented).

Defence:  How long have you known Mr Ellul Grech?

John Dalli:  May be since 1983.

Defence:  A very close person to you then?

John Dalli:  I knew him since we were kids, in fact we used to play together.

(John Dalli and the defendant had known each other since early 1950's).

 Defence:  He is from Qormi and you are from Qormi.

John Dalli:  We used to live in the same street.

Defence:  Now do your remember when you used to play with marbles? But you do not remember if in the 80’s he used to receive banking correspondence on your behalf?

John Dalli:  No I do not remember.

Defence:  The defendant told the police he had access to your banking documents.

Magistrate:  Look Doctor, what the defendant said in his statement is a prosecution element. Now the court could accept or it may not accept. Now if the defence wants to strengthen that element as evidence by providing external evidence for the witness of the prosecution to confirm, I think that you have every right. I can see that the defence is trying to strengthen that aspect of evidence, that’s right?

(The defendant did not make any statements to the police. The police concocted several statements and the defendant refused to sign them) 

Defence:  Yes. Now well I was asking you that when you were young you used to play marbles together? Meaning that you do not remember that he used to receive your banking documents that he used to open and show you.

John Dalli:  No, no absolutely no. Nothing of that sort. Absolutely nothing of that sort. 

Defence:  The police said that they found these in his possession. Meaning you do not know how they ended in his possession?

John Dalli:  When he used to come and take my documents and open them…. He was with me between 1982 and 1986 or 1981. Now if at some time I gave instructions to the bank when I had that account so that they will send statements to him, this I can check and I will tell you.

(John Dalli starts to back track on what he previously said because he was lying).

Defence:  Meaning you do not exclude it?

John Dalli:  I do not remember meaning I cannot remember whether or not, if I tell you I would be telling you wrongly whether if it is yes or no. I will verify and I will let you know.

Defence:  Now, there is document RC7.

Magistrate:  With reference to document Y.

Defence:  Did this ever come into your possession?

John Dalli:  This document I referred to it before this came into my possession on the 1 September of this year and this is the document I gave to Mr Ellul-Grech.

(Dalli confirms that he gave the document to the defendant. This was the only evidence submitted on which the prosecution based its entire case. The original fax that was received by Dalli was never produced as evidence in court. Neither was it proved that the defendant faxed any documents to anyone. This also confirms that Dalli had the document before the defendant had it).

Defence:  How did you get this document?

John Dalli:  It was faxed to me.

Defence:  This is document RC17 that you say that is defamatory and that is falsified?

John Dalli:  Sure.

Defence:   When the people told you what they were receiving, you reported to the police and asked them to investigate. Now regarding document RC7 that you have just told us that you received by fax. We tried to establish the time when you received it but from the prosecution side they could not give us exact time. But you are saying that you received on the 1 September that is two months ago. When you received that document did you make a report to the police?

John Dalli:   No I did not report to the police. At that time I kept things between the defendant and me because I did not give it any importance and I had no intention of chasing people because I have enough things to do. But then when this falsification occurred I could not hold back any longer.

(This period gave Dalli enough  time to forge the bank statement and organise a group of people to send the letters. Sending 20, 000 sealed envelopes with three A4 sheets and a six cents stamp stuck on them there must have been a number of people involved. This also gave Dalli the opportunity to distract people’s attention from the Daewoo scandal that was at its height during that period. The media was still asking questions about the sale of Mid Med Bank. Dalli had sold it for a pittance. He was also due to deliver his first austerity budget at that time after his political party brought down the legitimate government of Dr. Sant. During that period Dr. Sant as leader of the opposition was pressing for an investigation into the Daewoo scandal where Dalli had been a consultant for Joe Gaffarena and Joseph Mary Scicluna when he was shadow minister for finance. It was during that period that BOV (a  nationalised bank) authorised millions of Euros in loans and overdrafts using very little collateral).

Defence:   Good, meaning that the object of your charges…

John Dalli:   Is falsification.

Defence:   Of this document RC. Not this one.

John Dalli:   No it is falsification.

Defence:   Meaning the basis of your request to assistant police commissioner to investigate was based on document RC which is that document, right?

John Dalli:   Which is a fixed document.

Defence:   No, all right, but not document Y that is RC7 otherwise you would have reported to the police in the first instance?

John Dalli:   No, at that stage I did not feel that I had to do anything like that. However, when I saw that they were being distributed to the public and as they were false and falsified I then took action with the police.

Defence:   Do you have any information regarding the envelopes? How many were sent?

John Dalli:   I have no idea. (In his previous witness he said it was thousands).

Defence:   But I understand that when you gave a press conference you said that there were many, many and many.

John Dalli:   At the press conference I said that there were thousands because when I was talking to Assistant Commissioner Cassar he had told me that he had sacks of letters that were received.

(On the 15 November prior to the press conference when lodging his formal complaint Dalli stated in his witness that there were thousands. In the press conference Dalli promised that the person who committed this crime would be caught no matter what the cost.)

Defence:   Good. You asked the police assistant commissioner to proceed against the defendant Ellul.

John Dalli:   No I indicated my suspicion.

 Defence:   On what did you base your suspicion?

John Dalli:   I based it on what had happened before as I described previously when I received on the 1 September that you mentioned earlier and naturally there was a resemblance with the false document that was being distributed and I confronted the defendant who to day is being accused with the first document. To me his attitude indicated an admission and I indicated to the police that I had my suspicion.

Defence:   Now could he physically send all of them? Due to coming to that conclusion and opinion I think I should be able to ask.

John Dalli:   Which opinion are you talking about?

Defence:   Those hundreds and thousands of letters…that you suspect him of, do you believe that he sent them.

John Dalli:   No excuse me. I did not say that; do not try to put words into my mouth.

Defence:   Can you say who sent them?

John Dalli:   I said that when I heard that these letters were being sent and I saw a copy I compared them to the document I received and had confronted the defendant with and from this confrontation it resulted to me that he was admitting that he had sent it. There were similarities in these documents and when I spoke to the police I indicated this fact that I had a suspect in this person. What had he sent? How much he had sent and with whom did he sent. Perhaps he had a large organisation behind him. Perhaps he had a political party helping him. And that is why I asked the police to conduct forensic examinations. I do not know. There are things that could be. Everything could be. That is why I asked the police to conduct forensic examinations on all the envelopes so that we establish how many people there is involved. Because, if it results that there is one hundred different handwritings on the envelopes than there is a large organisation behind this attempt. That is why this is not a simple case….

(Knowing that there were many people involved in sending these letters, Dalli did not insist with the police to widen their investigation. The police only took handwriting samples from the defendant and his wife. The defendant’s wife was ruled out of the investigation instantly. Despite this no one else was investigated. At this early stage Dalli made sure that he would get some large organisation or political party involved. He already had in mind to accuse the Labour Party. A few months later, on the 15 March 2000 Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami in parliament accused the Labour Party of sending these letters. After a parliamentary investigation the Labour Party was cleared of any connection to this crime.)

Defence:  Honourable Dalli here is this person being accused to date and you do not know if it was a large organisation?

John Dalli:  No I do not know.

Defence:   That is all from the witness.

Magistrate:   The defence reserved cross-examination ulterior. Civil action examination.

Prosecution:  The fact that there is a document that is altered and shows discrepancies of money that you do not have, does this hurt you?

John Dalli:  It hurts me a lot. (HYPOCRITE)

Prosecution:  No more questions.

Magistrate:  That is all. Cross-examination ulterior reserved.

This is the witness of the Honourable John Dalli dictated by him.

I declare that the transcription is in good faith and faithful and to the best of my ability transcribed from the tape.

Iris Mallia

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