Prime Minister Robert Abela pocketed €45,000 on a property deal with a car dealership owner which is currently being investigated by police.
The timeline of the events raises suspicions over why he entered a contract to buy a green field, only to later transfer his stake in that contract to an auto-dealer and alleged kidnapper Christian Borg just months later.
According to a news report by Times of Malta, Abela and his wife Lydia entered a deal in June of 2018 to buy a nondescript plot of land in Żabbar. On the same day, Borg received Planning Authority permission to build nine apartments and garages on that plot of land despite having no apparent connection to the property.
Borg is at the heart of an organised crime investigation, with Abela selling their stake in the property deal to Borg and making €45,000 profit. Abela was providing legal advice to both the PA and Borg at the time.
Times of Malta revealed details of the Żabbar property deal earlier this month and have been flagged as suspicious by tax evasion experts who specialise in property market loopholes. Borg had applied for a development permit on the 210 square meter plot of land in 2017, just one year before he had any visible stake in the same property.
The property was at the time the subject of a promise of sale agreement between its original owner and Malta as Distributors Ltd, which is co-owned by Bonnici Brothers and gas distributor Simon Buhagiar.
The company has also in the past been represented by Abela’s legal practice but the Abela’s only entered the picture in June of 2018, with the promise of sale partially transferred to them the same day that Borg’s development application was formally approved by the Planning Authority.
Abela went on to transfer the purchasing rights on the deal to Princess Construction Limited, which is Borg’s company. The green plot known as Ta’ Cianciorina, was ultimately sold to Borg for €315,000 on November 29th, 2018. It was revealed by the TOM report that notarial paperwork submitted along with the final contract of sale includes a signed declaration that the property was not derived from criminal activity or money laundering. The declaration stamped, it was signed by notary Mark Zaffarese along the parties involved. On his part, Abela argued that it was the notary’s job to ensure the funds used by Borg were clean, and not his.