The Malta Independent 15 August 2022, Monday

PN takes aim at Prime Minister over involvement in property deal with alleged criminal

Sunday, 13 February 2022, 09:17 Last update: about 7 months ago

The last thing a greylisted country needs is a shadow being cast over the Prime Minister, "that he could have been involved in money laundering schemes," the PN said in a statement.

The Times of Malta reports that Abela was involved in a property deal back in 2018 with Christian Borg, a man recently charged with kidnapping who police believe to be the mastermind of an organised crime group. Borg and his associates are allegedly also being investigated over suspected narcotics smuggling and money laundering. 

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Abela confirmed with the Times of Malta that he was Borg's lawyer for a time.

The Times reports that a spokesperson for the OPM said that the Prime Minister had "informed the media about a promise of sale assignment entered into by him and others way back in 2018 via a public deed, which was duly registered at law, in favour of a limited liability company in which Mr Borg was a shareholder."

The Times report reads: "The property deal in question involved what is known as assignment of rights (ċessjoni ta' dritijiet fuq konvenju). This is a legal mechanism that allows the proposed buyer in a promise of sale agreement on a property to pass those purchasing rights over to a third party." It also reports that it can be legitimately used if a proposed buyer finds another party willing to purchase the property instead, but quotes sources as saying that it can also be known to be used to avoid tax.

The Nationalist Party said that the Prime Minister must declare all he knows about what was revealed in the Times' article. "He has a lot to answer about this case, including about how many times he used this method in transactions made, including in his own transactions, how much money he received and if he declared everything," the party said.

"The Prime Minister must also declare the difference in price between the first promise of sale and the last, and if he conducted due diligence on his clients before working for them. The opposition is closely following this case," the PN said.

"No wonder Abela is against the bill regarding unexplained wealth and against the fight against organised crime." 

PL says PM was clear and transparent

The statement issued by the PN shows a party stuck in the past, and in every election year sees what lie to try and grasp onto, the Labour Party (PL) said. Those who don't have ideas for the future do that, the PL said.

"The Prime Minister was clear and transparent when he himself gave journalists details regarding things that are public. That is why every argument made by the PN in its statement is nothing but spin. If there is someone who evaded tax it is PN Leader Bernard Grech. The head of the opposition is a professional tax evader."

"Until today he has not even declared from where he got thousands of euros to pay when he was caught and wanted to go in for the role of PN Leader. He tries to avoid the question at times, and at others says his son paid it."

"Like him, PN MPs like Jason Azzopardi made false tax declarations where they said they earn nothing from their profession and changed it only after being caught. Even Beppe Fenech Adami never accepted the challenge of a tax audit."

 


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