Alleged kidnapper Christian Borg has lost an appeal over the suspension of car rental licence after a judge threw out his arguments to have it revoked.

This was the second appeal he lost, after his bid to overturn the decision was dismissed by the Administrate Review Tribunal last July.

The issue revolves around a January 2019 decision by Transport Malta to suspend the license for Princess Garage, owned by Borg, after the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority and other authorities received “numerous, repeated and extremely serious complaints of malpractice” from clients who hired a car from Goldcar.

Under this licence, Princess Garage used to lease cars under the international franchise Goldcar, which has since cut all ties with Borg and his companies.

The licence covered the operation of a fleet of 1,145 vehicles.

Princess Holdings Limited is still registered in Borg's name. It is a shareholder in Princess Operations Limited with the director and legal representative listed as Joseph Camezuli, the Labour Party’s former official photographer. 

Borg is now listed as company secretary after the young businessman was arrested and charged in court earlier this year in connection with a botched kidnapping in February.

A court has heard how he and his associates allegedly threatened to torture their victim and rape his sister. 

Borg appealed Transport Malta's decision to suspend his licence, arguing that the decision was “unfounded” and that it had been taken without prior notice. He also stated that the allegations were “vague” and that no “misconduct or negligence” were ever proven. The Administrative Review Tribunal rejected the appeal.

Mr Justice Lawrence Mintoff heard Transport Malta explain how action was taken on the strength of a number of complaints that had been received by the Malta Tourism Authority and the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) from clients, mostly foreigners, who felt they had been swindled.

The bad experience had led to a particular complaint which had appeared in the London Sunday Times Business Section under the title “Vehicle hire ‘cowboys’ Goldcar blew holes in our holiday budgets”.

The MCCAA confirmed that it had notified Borg about various shortcomings and had explained to him that the complaints were giving Malta a bad name. It also stated that only a few complaints had been resolved.

It also emerged that Transport Malta had already sent a suspension notice to Borg in 2016 but for some reason, this had never been implemented and complaints continued to pour in.

Although Borg insisted that he was not aware of the issues that led to the suspension of his licence, the court heard how Borg was well aware that there were several problems in his operation because the authorities had held meetings with his representatives and also his lawyers.

The judge said he did not believe Borg when saying that he was not aware about the meetings held.

He also threw out his argument that the suspension decision was taken without following the principles of natural justice by giving him the opportunity to defend himself.

As he rubbished Borg’s argument that the suspension was “unreasonable”, the judge said that Transport Malta’s decision to suspend his car rental licence was backed by numerous complaints and his failure to address them.

The court heard how between 2018 and 2019, the company had signed almost 40,000 lease agreements – an average of 107 a day.

“The court agrees with the tribunal and does not see any logic in the argument that the appellant is putting forward. It cannot dismiss the considerable number of documents exhibited where it results how numerous, repeated and serious the complaints were. It also observes that years passed and [Borg] failed to remedy the situation by improving operations,” the judge said in his decree.

“The Tribunal rightly concluded that this means that the claimant had no interest in remedying his shortcomings so that complaints would decrease,” he added as he threw out all of his grounds of appeal.

Borg had made headlines during the electoral campaign when it emerged that he was a central figure in a suspicious property deal involving prime minister Robert Abela.

The deal, first exposed by Times of Malta, had netted Abela €45,000 but the timeline of events raised suspicions over why he entered a contract to buy a field only to transfer his stake in that contract to Borg just a few months later.

At the time, Abela had been the Planning Authority’s legal advisor and he entered the deal only after permits had been issued to develop the plot.  

Borg, an auto dealer, amassed millions of euros worth of properties by his mid-20s, partially paying for some of these in luxury and exotic cars. Police sources confirm he also featured in a money-laundering investigation. 

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