The Malta Independent 22 October 2020, Thursday

PN leader Adrian Delia provides hard evidence that tax dispute is settled once and for all

David Lindsay Sunday, 27 May 2018, 09:00 Last update: about 3 years ago

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia has taken up a challenge from this newspaper to go over all his tax payments with a fine tooth comb and he has now conclusively proven exactly how his taxes and outstanding penalties have been settled down to the last cent, and precisely from where the funds were derived.

This newspaper has now seen exactly where the money to settle his tax payments and disputes came from, and has seen the hard evidence, in plain black and white from public records, showing how the funds were derived from the disposal of shares in companies he was involved in prior to becoming PN leader and the sale of a property next door to his in Siggiewi.

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Delia has also provided an official statement from the Inland Revenue Department to the effect that “to date [Adrian Delia] has no pending tax, FSS and SSC balances”.  The official statement, which should stop Labour Party tongues wagging once and for all, is dated 14 May 2018.

And in the further interest of full transparency, Delia has also showed this newspaper exactly where he sourced the funds for the payments, also putting to rest Labour Party insinuations that Delia had utilised funds from a recent Nationalist Party fundraiser to settle the outstanding tax bill.

The issue of his outstanding taxes predated Delia’s entry into politics, and it has been a consistent thorn in his side, with government acolytes and pundits having continually hounded him on the issue to take swipes at his credibility.

Meeting Delia this week, who took time to sit down with a journalist to go over his personal finances in minute detail, the Opposition Leader has evidently taken the accusations personally and not just as a matter of potentially lost political mileage: “My money for the tax payments did not come from anywhere that was illicit and it did not come from the Nationalist Party. It came solely from the sale of a property and from the disposal of shares in companies that I owned.”

The Malta Independent on Sunday sat down with Delia on Thursday and this newspaper has seen exactly what Delia has paid in outstanding taxes and penalties and exactly where those funds came from.  All the documentation referred to are all in the Public Registry and the Malta Financial Services Authority, should anyone be curious enough to fact check Delia’s statement of affairs.

In an audit report drawn up by independent auditors Mazars and published just before his election to the party’s helm, Delia had reported a due tax balance of €51,924 while interest and charges on that tax balance amounted to €34,859.

Delia had registered a contestation with the IRD on some €5,000 in interest and charges, according to documentation shown to this newspaper, and Delia eventually agreed to a total payment of €81,000, documentation, dated 31 January, shows.

That was the point at which Delia had made his ‘Game Over’ statement that had been widely ridiculed by Labour Party exponents, who, for some reason, claimed to illegally know the personal details of taxpayers such as Delia going back for years.

Delia also showed this newspaper a bank draft from the Bank of Valletta Siggiewi branch for the sum of €55,042, dated 23 March, to settle the interest charges, and another bank draft, dated 20 April for the amount of €64,000 for the amounts still owed, which were not under dispute.

This newspaper can confirm the contents of the bank drafts, which are not being published with this article.

Those two payments covered the tax dispute and all of Delia’s outstanding arrears from recent years, which actually covered more than what had been contained in the Mazars report.

 

Where exactly did tax settlement money come from?

The insinuation among Labour quarters was that Delia had settled the significant tax payment from revenue raised from a PN fundraiser, a suggestion that Delia rubbishes in one fell swoop by showing the two clear sources of the settlement funds: his disposal of shares in companies he owned before being elected as PN leader, and the sale of a property he had purchased.

Delia showed this newspaper indisputable and official documentation from the Malta Financial Services Authority showing how he had disposed of his shares in three companies: Aequitas Legal, Aequitas Trust and Fiduciary and Evolve Consultancy all on the same date - 13 March of this year.

He also explains an anomaly in that in his parliamentary declaration of assets, filed on 27 April, he had declared he still owned shares in both the Aequitas firms as well as in Evolve.  The declaration of assets, however, need to give the state of play as at 31 December, when he still owned the shares, although he had disposed of those shares in the interim period, on 13 March.

Delia showed this newspaper MFSA share transfer documents showing a transfer of his 5,400 shares in on Aequitas Management, 7,600 shares in Aequitas Trust and Fiduciary and 300 shares in Evolve Consultancy.

This newspaper can verify that the value of those shares far exceeds any tax bill Delia had been the subject of, although the figures are not being reproduced for the sake of commercial confidentiality.  The numbers, for the record, are public at the MFSA, although Delia also clarifies that he has not received all those funds yet as they are being paid out proportionately.

Back to the Mazars report:  Delia had been taken to task as to why he had not declared a property in Siggiewi, next to his own, in the report.  Delia explains that it had not been declared because at the time of the report, last September, the property had still been subject to a promise of sale, which well predates his entry into politics, and it had not been declared because he had not owned it at the time.

In the meantime, the promise of sale was on condition of permits being granted and when he became a politically-exposed-person after being elected as opposition leader, Delia explains his application for a bank loan for the property became more complicated and he decided to pull the plug on the property purchase in April.

Delia had, however, already forked out the full payment for the property, he explains.  The promise of sale was eventually taken on by a third party, and this newspaper has seen the contracts with names and amounts, which shows Delia did not make a profit when he rescinded the promise of sale, registered in the Public Registry on 11 May.

The April 2018 documentation shows how Delia received €73,000 when he rescinded the contract, which was the exact same amount that had been originally registered.  And to be even more to the letter, Delia also showed how the same property held €15,000 in movable property, which is also duly registered and which shows how Delia had spent €88,000 on the property and that he received the exact same amount back.

Delia has, frankly, now been even more forthcoming about his personal finances than is necessary, and well over and above what any other Maltese politician has ever done in the past.  More such full disclosure and candour from politicians would be wholly welcomed, and we hope for more of the same in the future when questions are raised about politicians’ finances.

Of the documentation seen by this newspaper, we are only publishing the formal declaration from the Inland Revenue Department, which is not in the public record. Every other document referred to in this article is publically available through normal channels.

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