Labour MP Ian Castaldi Paris has announced he will stand down at the next election, after Times of Malta reported how a tax investigation uncovered he holds undeclared wealth.

Writing on Facebook, Castaldi Paris said he had come to the decision to not contest the next general election, set for 2022, as he wanted to prioritise his family.  

His announcement came just hours after Times of Malta exposed how the backbench MP agreed to pay some €300,000 in taxes and penalties after a probe into his fiscal affairs found close to €1 million in previously undeclared income. 

"Setting aside sensationalist stories about me which have been exaggerated, as I explained in my replies that were ignored, I recently took the decision to not contest the next general election," he said.

He took the decision to prioritise his family life, he insisted.

"Though I will be taking a step back from public life, this does not mean that I will no longer contribute to the Labour Party to take the country forward."

Praising Prime Minister Robert Abela's "vision and determination", he said the country needed him at the helm.

Accourding to sources, Castaldi Paris, a notary, was recently presented with the hefty repayment agreement after several months of talks with tax authorities.  

Castaldi Paris was investigated by the Tax Compliance Unit on the back of a red flag raised by a local bank some two years ago. 

Sources privy to the audit said the MP’s “unexplained wealth” hovered close to €1million. 

The MP insists however that the amount of previously undeclared income is significantly lower, however, he has not elaborated. 

According to his obligatory financial filings, Castaldi Paris has a far more modest €18,200 in bank savings.  

A turbulent time in parliament

Castaldi Paris became an MP last year when he won a casual election to replace former minister Chris Cardona on the eighth district. 

A former Nationalist mayor of Lia, he switched to Labour in 2015 and contested the general election with the PL for the first time in 2017. 

In October this year, he was removed from parliament’s Public Accounts Committee following media reports that he had discussed buying luxury London property with murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.  

Although he had claimed he was “bluffing”, the matter was taken up by tax officials who roped in their UK counterparts

Soon afterwards, Times of Malta exposed how a tax audit into Castaldi Paris had uncovered hundreds of thousands of euros in “unexplained wealth”.

PN: Abela's government collapsing

Opposition leader Bernard Grech seized on the news, which came just as news leaked that Labour MP Silvio Grixti had resigned after being questioned by the police. 

"Robert Abela's government is collapsing," he said in a statement. "A web of criminality is falling apart one piece at a time. It can no longer hold." 

Grech said that the government's bad behaviour was doing untold damage to Malta's reputation. Workers and citizens deserved a serious government, he said.  

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