Labour MP Ian Castaldi Paris has to pay some €300,000 in overdue taxes and penalties after a probe into his fiscal affairs found hundreds of thousands of euros in undeclared income.
Times of Malta has confirmed that the backbencher was handed a hefty repayment agreement by the tax authorities in recent weeks after several months of talks.
The contractual agreement comes after the notary was probed 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 €1 million.
Castaldi Paris, however, strongly denied this when confronted with the amounts by Times of Malta.
Replying to questions sent at the weekend, the MP said the matter concerns “much, much smaller amounts”. He added that the issue is being resolved according to law.
The sources have since said that the final settlement was, indeed, between €900,000 and €1 million.
The MP insists he was the subject of “a standard audit” covering the years before he was elected to parliament.
“I have paid my taxes every year and did not start paying my tax because I decided to contest the elections,” he said.
Asked whether Castaldi Paris informed the Parliamentary Speaker of his updated financial position as he is obliged to do, the MP said that there was no need to inform the speaker of anything.
“I have been an MP since May 2020 and my parliamentary declaration of assets always reflected the truth, so there is nothing to inform the speaker about,” he said.
When Times of Malta checked with parliament earlier this month, his filings had not yet been updated.
According to his obligatory financial filings, Castaldi Paris has €18,200 in bank savings, a far cry from the hundreds of thousands found by the tax investigators.
He has also declared ownership of a property in Lija, bought against a bank loan.
He holds another three properties in Lija, Attard and Santa Venera via a Maltese company jointly owned with his wife. However, the three properties were not mentioned in his asset declaration form, with Castaldi Paris saying he did not list them as they are owned through the company E&M Properties and not in his name.
The government has, in recent months, talked about taking a hard-line approach on tax evasion, with Finance Minister Clyde Caruana saying there would be no tolerance for tax dodgers.
Castaldi Paris has been in the eye of a storm since revelations in September that he had discussed buying a £16 million (€18.7 million) property in London, despite having only declared modest bank deposits to parliament.
The matter stems from a leaked conversation which he had with alleged Daphne Caruana Galizia murder conspirator Yorgen Fenech in 2019.
Castaldi Paris has claimed he was “bluffing” when he told Fenech about his interest in purchasing luxury property in both Malta and the UK.
Times of Malta reported in October that the Inland Revenue Department has asked the UK authorities to share any information they might have about the MP.
After his conversation with Fenech was leaked, Castaldi Paris was removed from parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.
His place was taken up by fellow Labour MP Jonathan Attard, following a motion by Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne.
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