Modest tax declarations when compared to the luxury lifestyle of car dealer and suspected gangster Christian Borg point towards vast amounts of unexplained wealth, documents seen by Times of Malta show.

Borg, who started a sprawling car and sale rental business at the age of 19, was thrust into the national spotlight last year over an audacious kidnapping attempt.

During the kidnapping, he and five other associates allegedly threatened to cut off their victim’s fingers and rape his sister.

Borg, who frequently boasted both privately and on social media about his close ties with prime minister Robert Abela, declared income totalling €1.1 million between 2016 and 2020.

Investigators suspect this declared income may be the tip of the iceberg, with Borg’s property purchases alone – adding up to over €2.1 million, leaving an unexplained gap of €1 million in wealth.

One of the penthouses - with a rooftop pool - owned by Christian Borg.One of the penthouses - with a rooftop pool - owned by Christian Borg.

Most of these property purchases, which include a luxury penthouse with a rooftop pool and a massive villa, were not funded by bank loans or even withdrawals from his local bank accounts.

Times of Malta has previously reported how some of the property purchases were partly funded by luxury car swaps.

Demands for fraud probe

Investigators suspect that Borg may be using his car businesses to launder funds from drug trafficking and other criminal activity.

Questions have been raised about the police’s inaction against Borg, with ex-MP Jason Azzopardi recently demanding a money-laundering and fraud inquiry on behalf of some of Borg’s clients.

Borg and his car companies have categorically denied allegations made against them by the group of customers represented by Azzopardi, claiming they are part of “an orchestrated mud-slinging campaign” against them. 

Borg did not reply to questions by Times of Malta about his income declarations and lifestyle. Notwithstanding his young age, Borg had 170 cars registered under his own name and 1,500 under his various companies.

In recent years, his companies have managed to undercut established market players to win lucrative car provision tenders with government entities like Transport Malta and the Local Enforcements Systems Agency.

This month, an appeals court upheld a decision to disqualify one of Borg’s companies from a multi-million-euro leasing tender to the judiciary.

Concerns have been raised by Borg’s clients about “illegal” tracking conducted by one of Borg’s companies, No Deposit Cars.

The Qormi showroom of No Deposit Cars.The Qormi showroom of No Deposit Cars.

Large cash deposits

Borg is known to have carried out large cash deposits – totalling €400,000 – into his bank accounts.

Deposits were often split across multiple ATMs around the island on the same day. In one month alone in May 2019, Borg deposited over €110,000 split across 47 different transactions.

On one particular day, Borg made 16 cash deposits amounting to €35,000 in ATMs near the airport, Mqabba and Ibraġġ.

In the inquiry request by Azzopardi, one witness detailed in court documents how Borg allegedly handled “black bags stuffed with cash” near the airport.

This allegedly happened after 2019 when Borg would turn up outside the airport in his black Land Rover, soon to be joined by his associate Tyson Grech, who has been charged with cocaine trafficking.

Sources familiar with the investigation say Borg’s flashy lifestyle, including frequent trips to different continents, a string of high-end vehicles and the apparent ownership and upkeep of exotic animals, are not reflected in his banking transactions.

Christian Borg appears to own a number of exotic animals.Christian Borg appears to own a number of exotic animals.

This, the sources, say, indicates that Borg has access to even more cash that is not being injected into the banking system, but is instead being used to fund his lifestyle.

Suspected VAT fraud

Borg is also suspected of being engaged in industrial-scale VAT fraud, having claimed back millions in VAT refunds from the taxman between 2016 and 2022.

The scam, which was flagged to the police over a year ago, is suspected to involve a St Julian’s-based mechanic generating fake invoices for maintenance works supposedly done on Borg’s fleet of cars.

It has been noted how the mechanic has generated over a thousand such invoices, which have then been used by Borg to claim VAT refunds from the Inland Revenue Department.

Investigators have flagged how the sheer number of invoices in general issued by the mechanic, who runs a small operation, means he would have had to have been servicing around 20 cars daily to justify the amounts. 

The tax department is understood to be investigating the suspected scam along with the police.

MaltaToday reported how then tax chief Marvin Gaerty flew to Las Vegas with Borg and Grech to watch a historic clash between MMA fighters Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Gaerty claims to have funded the trip himself.

Gaerty stepped down as tax commissioner in 2022.

Then tax commissioner Marvin Gaerty driving a convertible during his Las Vegas holiday with Christian Borg and Tyson Grech.Then tax commissioner Marvin Gaerty driving a convertible during his Las Vegas holiday with Christian Borg and Tyson Grech.

Audited accounts show losses

Despite Borg’s personal wealth, a dive into the audited accounts of his various companies show they have racked up huge losses or in some cases, minimal profits.

One of the companies, Princess Holdings, has amassed €22.2 million in accumulated losses since it started operating in 2015.

Borg’s flagship company No Deposit Cars declared a modest profit of €270,000 in 2020.

The running of No Deposit Cars has since been handed over to Borg’s associate Luke Milton, as well as former Labour Party photographer Joe Camenzuli.

Luke Milton (right) with former Labour photographer Joseph Camenzuli at the No Deposit Cars showroom.Luke Milton (right) with former Labour photographer Joseph Camenzuli at the No Deposit Cars showroom.

Milton is facing charges of swindling a man out of $700,000 held in a cryptocurrency wallet.

Police investigators have separately been alerted to large payments received by Borg from two cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase and Binance.

The payments were made into a German bank account held by Borg. The account appears to have been used by Borg for certain expensive purchases. Borg is suspected to have used a fake German residential address when opening the account in question. 

Payments to Abela

Robert Abela’s relationship and business dealings with Borg prior to becoming prime minister have been the subject of intense scrutiny.

Times of Malta can reveal how over the space of two days in December 2018, Borg made three round-figure payments to Abela and his wife Lydia.

Borg had posed for a picture outside Castille with the Porsche, after Abela's leadership victory in January 2020.Borg had posed for a picture outside Castille with the Porsche, after Abela's leadership victory in January 2020.

On December 3, Borg issued a €25,000 cheque to Lydia Abela. The following day, another €25,000 cheque was issued to the prime minister’s wife.

That same day, Borg issued yet another €25,000 cheque, this time in the name of Robert Abela.

It is unclear why the payments, which came on the back of a Żabbar property deal between Abela and Borg, was split into smaller amounts across three cheques to the Abelas.

A few months after the cheques were issued, Lydia Abela issued a €48,000 cheque to Borg.

According to the prime minister’s spokesperson, the €48,000 cheque issued to Borg was linked to a court case involving a garnishee order.

Graphic: Times of MaltaGraphic: Times of Malta

The spokesperson said the law firm Abela used to form part of had represented Borg in a case, following the conclusion of which the amount in question deposited with the courts had been withdrawn and returned to the client.

Asking for supporting documents, the spokesperson refused, insisting: “the reply is clear, and refers to court proceedings which are public and accessible to the public.”

In June 2018, Abela and his wife Lydia entered a deal to buy a non-descript plot of land in Żabbar.

That very 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.

A few months later, the Abelas sold their stake in the property deal to Borg, making a €45,000 profit.

Abela, a lawyer by profession, was providing legal advice to both the PA and Borg at the time.

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