Construction magnate Nazzareno Vassallo has been cleared of lying under oath and fabricating documents during a civil court case revolving around payment owed to a subcontractor for works carried out on the Prince of Wales residential complex in Sliema.

The case dates back to 2014 when Police Inspector Ian Abdilla issued charges - against Mr Vassallo, chairman of Vassallo Group - following a complaint by Joe Vella, managing director of Avantguard Holding.

Mr Vella claimed that Mr Vassallo had lied under oath and submitted forged documents during an ongoing civil court case between Avantguard and Vassallo Builders  - a company within the Vassallo Group.

The civil case centred around the claim that Vassallo Builders owed Avantguard €208,000 for the tiling of 60 bathrooms at Prince of Wales. However, Vassallo Builders claimed the money had been withheld for delayed works and bad workmanship.

Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech, presiding over the Magistrates’ Court, heard how Mr Vella claimed that Mr Vassallo has exhibited tampered minute meetings. She heard how, during the Prince of Wales project, progress meetings were held and minutes were taken.

The issue revolved around minute number 1175 dated October 3, 2005. There were two versions of the minutes - one version had a sentence on the third page stating that Avantguard could start works. Another, submitted by Mr Vassallo, did not contain that part of the minutes.

The magistrate found that this was the result of a series of misunderstandings that stemmed from the fact that amendments to the October 3 minutes – requested during a meeting that followed – were taken by an inexperienced minute-taker who inserted them into the wrong date. The situation had eventually been flagged. In light of this, the magistrate ruled she could not find Mr Vassallo guilty of exhibiting false documents.

Mr Vella had also claimed that Mr Vasallo had lied during the civil case when, for example, he stated that a tender had been issued for the tiling works. Evidence showed that a tender had actually been issued.

In a statement issued to the media, Mr Vassallo’s lawyer Joseph Giglio said that the investigating officer “simply charged Mr Vassallo on the basis of the assertion by the parte-civile".

However, a request by Vassallo Group to investigate whether the claim amounted to a calumnious accusation was ignored, he said.



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