TPD: Revolving Door Cases

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The tobacco industry’s strategy to influence decision-making around the revision of the European Union (EU) Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) was strongly dependent on third party lobbying.1
Worryingly, this involved several high profile ‘Revolving Door’ cases where former senior EU politicians and policy makers turned tobacco industry lobbyists, took advantage of their existing contacts within the EU institutions to lobby on the tobacco industry’s behalf.
This page lists individual revolving door cases that tried to influence the TPD.

Johan Gabrielsson

Image 1. Extract from interview of Patrik Hildingsson, Vice President Group Public Affairs, Swedish Match, by OLAF on 2 June 2012 (highlights added by TobaccoTactics)

Director of Public Affairs at Swedish Match Brussels, Johan Gabrielsson, was at the centre of the Dalligate controversy in October 2012, which resulted in the resignation of Health Commissioner John Dalli. Gabrielsson is a classic revolving door case of a former EU official turned lobbyist, drawing on his contacts in, and knowledge of, EU institutions to lobby in Brussels on the tobacco industry’s behalf.
Prior to being recruited by Swedish Match, Gabrielsson worked for the European Commission in several capacities.2 In 2011, Swedish Match recruited him through Brussels-based public relations consultancy Kreab Gavin Anderson to lobby the Commission on the TPD, in particular on the snus sales ban.2
As Image 1 shows, Gabrielsson was headhunted for his “good knowledge of work within EU institutions”.2
For more information on the “cash for influence” lobbying scandal dubbed ‘Dalligate’ and the involvement of Swedish Match, go to our page on ‘Dalligate’ and TPD: Dalligate Timeline.

Gayle Kimberley

Maltese lawyer Gayle Kimberley used to work for the European Council’s Legal Service. In January 2011, after six years in service, she left on a sabbatical to work as a consultant in EU law.3 In November 2011 she was paid €5,000 by Swedish Match to lobby Health Commissioner John Dalli to lift the sales ban on snus.4 Kimberley met with Dalli in January 2012 without disclosing that Swedish Match had paid her to do so, and lied about having a second meeting in February 2012.4 Kimberley’s involvement in the ‘Dalligate’ controversy has raised concerns about the EU’s rules on conflict of interest. According to EU-lobbying watch-dog Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), “it is of great concern that Kimberley was paid to lobby Commissioner John Dalli on behalf of Swedish Match and all while on sabbatical from the European Council”.3

Michel Petite

Image 2. Abstract of the replies to the questionnaire from the Committee on Budgetary Control of the European Parliament concerning the resignation of the former Commissioner John Dalli, provided by the European Commission and OLAF, 30 November 2012

Michel Petite joined law firm Clifford Chance in 2008, specialising in European Commission policies, community law and competition law.5 Up until 2008 he was the Head of the European Commission’s Legal Service, and more recently a member and Chair of the Commission’s Ethics Committee.
In 2011 and 2012, when Petite served as a consultant to Philip Morris (PMI) in his role with Clifford Chance, he had several conversations with the Commission’s Legal Service on tobacco.6 Despite Legal Service being aware of his new role, Petite was twice allowed to “set out his views on some legal issues of tobacco legislation” and in November 2012 even met with the Head of the Legal Service, Luis Romero-Requena.6
Former Commissioner Dalli has claimed that then European Commission President Barroso asked him to shelve the TPD in November 2011 because “his Barroso’s legal services were raising many legal issues”, and that DG-SANCO officials advised him that the Legal Service only started raising concerns following Petite’s involvement (see Image 2).7
Petite also consulted for Swedish Match in the ‘Dalligate’ affair. According to interview transcripts released as part of the OLAF ‘Dalligate’ investigation,4 Swedish Match consulted Petite when an associate of Dalli tried to solicit €60 million from Swedish Match for lifting the snus sales ban. Petite, as Swedish Match proxy, notified the Commission of the alleged events.

Karin Riis-Jørgensen

Karin Riis-Jørgensen joined Kreab Gavin Anderson as senior advisor in 2009.8 In March 2011 and March 2012, she lobbied the Commission on behalf of Swedish Match when she and Swedish Match met with Secretariat-General staff to discuss the TPD revision.6
Visit TPD: Lobbying of EU Officials for more information on Swedish Match lobbying activities to lift the EU snus ban.
Prior to her career as a lobbyist in Brussels, Riis-Jørgensen was a Danish politician who served as a Member of European Parliament (MEP) from 1994 to 2009. She was twice re-elected in 1999 and in 20049 and in 2013 served as Vice-President of the ALDE group in the Parliament.10
Furthermore, from 1987 to 1989 she worked for the Commission’s task force for small and medium-sized enterprises.10

Image 3. Email from Kreab Gavin Anderson dated 5 October 2010 to Cabinet Commissioner Hahn to request a meeting

Ulf Sundqvist

Like Riis-Jørgensen, Ulf Sundqvist worked as senior advisor for Kreab Gavin Anderson, and has lobbied on behalf of Swedish Match.11 In 2010 he lobbied the Cabinet of EU Commissioner Hahn on the snus sales ban (see Image 3).12
Prior to becoming a lobbyist, Sundqvist had a career in the Finnish government in the 1970s and worked as a senior banker in the 1980s.12
In 1993 he was accused, and later convicted, of fraud.13

Image 4. Invitation to BAT stakeholder dialogue session, moderated by Pavel Telicka (highlight added by TobaccoTactics)

Pavel Telička

Pavel Telička’s case is one of a double revolving door. After serving as a former ambassador and Head of the Czech mission to the EU, Telička was briefly the European Health Commissioner in 2004.
He then established a lobby consultancy called BXL Consulting, which he ran until 2014 when he was elected to the European Parliament and served as the Vice President of the ALDE Group.14
In its 2009 report on BAT’s lobbying in Brussels, CEO suggested that “One of BAT’s greatest PR achievements was recruiting former EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection Pavel Telička as ‘facilitator’ of its so-called ‘EU social reporting sessions’”.15 Such reporting sessions also took place in March 2010, at the time when the Commission was carrying out the TPD impact assessment and BAT was trying to establish dialogue with Commission staff on harm reduction, smoke free places, and illicit tobacco. Telička acted as moderator of one of these sessions (see Image 4).16

Anne Katrine Mevlig

Image 5. Extract from PMI leaked document showing notes on contact with Danish MEPs (highlights added by TobaccoTactics)

Anne Katrine Mevlig was Manager of Corporate Affairs at PMI Denmark from August 2012 until August 2014.17
She started working for PMI in April 2011 as Manager of Regulatory Affairs. Mevlig lobbied Danish MEPs to oppose measures in the proposed TPD.1819
Access to the Danish MEPs was gained through her former employer, Jens Rohde MEP (see Image 5).
Mevlig used to work for Rohde as his political assistant when he was a member of the Danish Parliament.17 Rohde is one of the MEPs that PMI had ongoing contact with during the review of the TPD, and he tabled several pro-tobacco amendments to the TPD proposal during this time.20
To read more about PMI’s attempts to derail the TPD revision, including its strategy to “activate MEPs”, visit our page on PMI’s Lobbying Campaign to Undermine the TPD.

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  1. S. Peeters, H. Costa, D. Stuckler, M. McKee, A. B. Gilmore, The revision of the 2014 European tobacco products directive: an analysis of the tobacco industry’s attempts to ‘break the health silo’, Tobacco Control , 2016; 25:108-117
  2. abcEuropean Anti-Fraud Office, Written Record of Interview with Mr Johan Lenmart Gabrielsson, conducted 2 June 2012. In: Transmission of information following a closure of investigation, Fax from Giovanni Kessler to Peter Grech, dated 17 October 2012
  3. abCorporate Europe Observatory, RevolvingDoorWatch: Gayle Kimberley, last updated July 2014, accessed February 2017
  4. abcMalta Today, Final Report from OLAF on Dalli investigation, accessed January 2017
  5. Clifford Chance, Michel Petite Profile, Clifford Chance website, undated, accessed February 2017
  6. abcEuropean Commission and OLAF. Replies to the Questionnaire from the Committee on Budgetary Control of the European Parliament concerning the resignation of the former Commissioner John Dalli. Brussels, 30 November 2012
  7. C. Mangion, Dalli: ‘Barroso was against the Tobacco Products Directive’, Malta Today, 13 March 2014, accessed February 2017
  8. Kreab & Gavin Anderson, Our people in Brussels: Karin Riis-Jørgensen, undated, accessed January 2015
  9. K. Riis-Jørgensen, Karin Riis-Jørgensen’s Linkedin Profile, Linkedin, undated, accessed February 2017
  10. abK. Riis-Jørgensen, Curriculum Vitae, Karin Riis-Jørgensen personal website, undated, accessed February 2017
  11. Kreab & Gavin Anderson, Our people in Brussels: Ulf Sundqvist, undated, accessed January 2015
  12. abK.M. Soro, Email to Hubert Gambs dated 5 October 2010. Subject: Mtg request on Baltic Sea trade next week, Released under freedom of information legislation, accessed January 2015
  13. The European Court of Human Rights, Fourth Section. Decision as to the admissibility of Application no. 75602/01 by Ulf Sundqvist against Finland, sitting on 22 November 2005, accessed February 2017
  14. BXL consulting, BXL consulting homepage, undated, accessed November 2014
  15. Corporate Europe Observatory, Obscured by the Smoke – British American Tobacco’s deathly lobbying agenda in the EU, June 2009, accessed February 2017
  16. J. Bowles, Letter from Jack Bowles to Ms Draghia Aklia, Director of DG RTD. British American Tobacco, 7 January 2010, Brussels. Document released under freedom of information legislation
  17. abLinkedin profile Anne Katrine Melvig undated, accessed January 2015
  18. Philip Morris International, Copy of new Transparency Register. Lists of Consultants and their expenses, from internal Philip Morris International documents leaked in September 2013
  19. Philip Morris International, AAA Master File. Background information and meeting details of most MEPs by country, from internal Philip Morris International documents leaked in September 2013
  20. R. Goebbels, ITRE Committee Amendments 21-280 Draft Opinion on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products, 28 May 2013