Labour MP Ian Castaldi Paris’s declared assets jar with big talk he had with alleged murder mastermind Yorgen Fenech about chasing multi-million-euro property deals in Mdina and London.
Castaldi Paris put chats about pursuing a £16 million (€18.7m) Kensington property he had with Fenech down to “bluff”.
The chats were revealed by MaltaToday.
According to obligatory financial filings made to parliament, Castaldi Paris has a modest €18,200 in bank savings.
He also declared ownership of a property in Lija, bought against a bank loan. Castaldi Paris owns another three properties in Lija, Attard and Santa Venera via a Maltese company jointly owned with his wife. The latter three properties were not mentioned in his asset declaration, with Castaldi Paris saying he did not list them as they are owned through the company E&M Properties.
His joint shareholding of E&M Properties was declared in the financial filings.
Chatting about Mdina
Fenech initiated the September 2019 chat with Castaldi Paris after getting wind of his interest in the €3.1 million Mdina property.
The Tumas Group magnate apologised for muscling in on the property, saying he would be willing to cede the promise of sale if Castaldi Paris wanted the pricey property overlooking the Mdina bastions.
Castaldi Paris replied to Fenech by saying his intention was to renovate the property and flip it for a profit. He also told Fenech he owns three properties in London and was now looking for a “big mansion” after losing out on the Mdina deal.
Castaldi Paris even invited the Tumas Group magnate to “do something together” on the next deal. The Labour MP has put the chats about the London properties down to manly bluff.
Questioned by Times of Malta how he was in the market for the Mdina house given his modest declared assets, Castaldi Paris said he was never interested and never intended to buy the property.
“I could never afford to buy such a property,” the MP said.
Castaldi Paris said that he knew about the Mdina property because its owner used to live opposite his office in Attard.
“We spoke almost daily. He used to tell me that he has a house in Mdina for sale at €4 million. That’s how I knew it was for sale and its price,” he said.
The MP said the owner had been telling him about the property “for months and months” and had even asked if he knew anyone who would be interested in buying it.
This same Mdina property would go on to land Castaldi Paris’s Labour colleague, Rosianne Cutajar in hot water over tens of thousands of euros in alleged cash payments she received for brokering the sale to Fenech.
Castaldi Paris was the notary who drew up one of the affidavits by property seller Joseph Camilleri, claiming Cutajar had failed to return the brokerage fees after the deal fell through following Fenech’s November 2019 arrest.
“Are you serious? You have to be dying of hunger to accept to draw up a false affidavit about a colleague and a 73-year-old person,” Cutajar messaged Castaldi Paris.
The exchange between Cutajar and Castaldi Paris forms part of the evidence submitted to Standards Commissioner George Hyzler.
Hyzler concluded in July that Cutajar had pocketed the brokerage fees, which she failed to declare in her yearly assets declaration to parliament.
The conclusion permanently relegated Cutajar to Labour’s backbenches, having earlier resigned as a parliamentary secretary pending the outcome of the ethics probe.
Cutajar maintains her innocence and Labour MPs sitting on parliament’s standards committee have since sought to poke holes in Hyzler’s conclusions that the balance of probabilities went against her version of events.
Standards Commissioner asked to investigate
Independent election candidate Arnold Cassola said on Tuesday he had asked the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life to investigate the case.
He observed that Castaldi Paris in his conversation with Fenech had claimed that he owned properties abroad. This did not tally with his declaration of assets of 21st April 2021.
Furthermore his declaration of assets did not disclose the ownership of properties in Malta.