The Malta Independent 22 July 2024, Monday
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Police investigators probing murdered lawyer Carmel Chircop’s property dealings

Sunday, 18 October 2015, 08:00 Last update: about 10 years ago

The police have opened up a new line of investigation into the cold-blooded murder on 8 October of lawyer Carmel Chircop, who was laid to rest in Birkirkara yesterday, and it is believed they are looking into one particular property transaction in Mgarr as they search for a motive.

It is understood that while several lines of investigation into the killing are still being explored, particular attention is being paid to Dr Chircop’s property dealings.

Informed sources speaking to The Malta Independent have claimed that Dr Chircop, like so many others, had found ways to under-declare the value of property transactions in order to reduce the amount of tax payable.

The usual ploy is for a property to be purchased for one price on paper, but for a significantly higher price in reality. The difference is then paid by the buyer to the seller under-the-table, after the sale. It is understood that the police are looking into one such deal, in respect of a property in Mgarr, in which it is suspected that such an arrangement had been made. 

The police are believed to be working on the theory that Dr Chircop, who had purchased the property, had reneged on the agreement and refused to pay the full amount of the difference owed after the sale.

As such, investigators are viewing the short-changing of the seller of the property as a possible motive behind Dr Chircop’s murder.

This is, however, just one of several lines of inquiry being pursued. Last week, The Malta Independent on Sunday reported how Dr Chircop held a total of 157 different positions – from director to shareholder and from company secretary to legal representative – across 117 different companies. 

As a commercial maritime lawyer, many of these companies are held in trust and appear to relate to normal run-of-the-mill company registration work and many are also clearly involved in the shipping industry.

But the sheer number of businesses in which Dr Chircop was involved, in one capacity or another, presents a formidable amount of work for investigators, who will no doubt be looking into every nook and cranny of Dr Chircop’s professional life as they attempt to establish a motive.

Fifty-one-year-old Dr Chircop was shot dead in his garage on the morning of 8 October, gunned down at 7.30 am by an unknown assailant in a multi-storey garage in John Borg Street, where his car was parked. An autopsy showed that he had been shot four times in the upper body.

Dr Chircop’s funeral was held yesterday at St Helen’s Basilica in Birkirkara. A number of politicians, including Speaker of the House of Representatives Anglu Farrugia, attended the funeral Mass and The Duke of Connaught’s Band, of which Dr Chircop was president, participated in the service. A procession was held along Valley Road prior to the Mass.


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