Opposition leader Adrian Delia received a little help from his in-laws in settling an €80,000 pending tax bill, after they bought out a promise-of-sale agreement he had signed several years ago for an €88,000 property adjacent to his Siġġiewi home.
Dr Delia told The Malta Independent on Sunday last month that he paid off his tax dues from the sale of this property as well as the disposal of company shares.
A July 2016 photographic survey uploaded on the Planning Authority’s website by Dr Delia’s architect Robert Musumeci showed the small property to be in a dilapidated state.
Despite the absence of any furniture or appliances in the photographic survey, Dr Delia told The Malta Independent on Sunday that the property contained €15,000 in movable furniture.
Stamp duty is only payable on the value of immovable property, with the value of movable property deducted from the sale price.
This means Dr Delia’s claim that the dilapidated property contained €15,000 in movable furniture would have reduced the amount of stamp duty he paid.
Asked about the €15,000 valuation, given the lack of furniture as evidenced by the photographs uploaded by his own architect, Dr Delia said he was unaware of any such photographs.
Is it wrong, morally or politically?
“I didn’t save tax anywhere,” Dr Delia said during a recent meeting with the Times of Malta.
Follow-up questions sent on June 6, requesting a list of all the furniture contained in the property, were not answered.
Dr Delia said during the meeting that there was nothing wrong with his in-laws helping him out. Questioned if this was effectively a ‘bail-out’ by his in-laws so he could pay his tax dues, while still getting his hands on the property, Dr Delia said he saw nothing wrong with this.
“Is that an illegal thing? A bad thing? An immoral thing? Is it wrong, morally or politically?” Dr Delia asked.
The Opposition leader said questions asking if his in-laws had bought the property for him to use were “irrelevant”. He said he was not forking out any money for the property, and he would not have any title to it.
Dr Delia said he did not know if he would go ahead with plans to join the property to his existing Siġġiewi home.
The Opposition leader said he ceded the promise of sale on the property because his personal position had changed.
Questions had been raised about how he even entered the promise-of-sale in the first place, given his declared lack of savings and the tax arrears.
Dr Delia clarified that the promise-of-sale was signed in April 2015. He said he paid for the property in instalments over the preceding years, before he had any tax issues.
“At no point was this a case of me deciding to buy something instead of paying taxes”, he said.
Asked why he said in February that he was seeking financing for the property if he had already paid the full €88,000 to the seller, Dr Delia said the bank financing was for renovation works.