EU Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli has resigned after an anti-fraud office investigation into attempts to influence tobacco legislation.
The European Commission said Tuesday that Maltese conservative politician Dalli left "with immediate effect." The decision came after an investigation found that a Maltese entrepreneur with links to the commissioner had tried to sell influence.
The probe was launched by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) as the result of a complaint to the commission by tobacco producer Swedish Match.
The company was said to have been approached by the entrepreneur, who was seeking financial rewards in return for influencing legislation.
"No transaction was concluded between the company and the entrepreneur and no payment was made," the commission wrote, adding that Dalli had resigned "to defend his reputation and that of the commission."
The commission said that 64-year-old Dalli rejected any accusation that he was involved in trying to sell influence.
Maltese Vice President Maros Sefcovic is to take over the health portfolio currently held by the island state until a replacement is appointed.
rc/dr (AFP, dapd, dpa, Reuters)