Nationalist deputy leader Mario de Marco defended his legal firm's involvement in the contract signed between the Sea Bank Group and the government on the ITS deal, insisting this would not preclude the PN from taking a strong position on the project.

Replying to questions on the issue, Dr de Marco said that his legal firm – De Marco and Associates – provided legal services to the owners of the Sea Bank group on the deal. However, his firm's services were purely professional and did not have anything to do with the PN's position on the project.

"As you know we have a part-time Parliament and members are allowed to continue with their professional work. This is why we gave our services even though I admit that this might be controversial," Dr de Marco said.

Dr de Marco said that in the coming days, the PN will be making its position on this deal very clear and said the party had already raised many questions on the contract.

PN leader Simon Busuttil has criticised the deal and said that the 24,000 square metre prime site in St Julian's and Pembroke was given to the Sea Bank Group on the cheap, without parliamentary scrutiny and in direct contrast with the current local plan for the area.

Dr de Marco emphasised it was the government which is responsible for the deal.

Signed earlier this month, the government said that the deal - to hand over for 99 years the prime site in Malta’s golden mile - would mean that the developers would be paying some €60 million.

However, according to the contract published by the government, the Sea Bank owners would only be paying a premium of €15 million, staggered over a number of years.

The deal, under which the land was supposed to be used for touristic and leisure purposes, includes the construction of two residential towers with 209 luxury apartments to be put on sale.

The deal was criticised by various quarters including the PN, the Chamber of Commerce, Partit Demokratiku and Alternattiva Demokratika.

At the same time, entrepreneurs also criticised this project stating that through the concession the government was giving the Sea Bank Group an advantage over other developers in the same area.

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