Updated 4pm with UVIA comment

The car dealers suspected of having tampered with the mileage counts of imported used cars are Rokku and Tal-Qasab auto dealers.

Both dealerships were suspended by a sectoral lobby group, the Used Vehicle Importers Association, on Sunday after Malta Today broke reports of the alleged scam. 

The suspected scam impacts car sales dating back to 2019 and allegedly saw dealerships register cars imported from Japan with lower mileage counts than they had actually accumulated. 

Malta Today reported that Transport Malta has received at least 300 reports of suspicious mileage counts related to the scam.

UVIA secretary general Albert Fenech issued a statement on Sunday saying that two car dealers have been suspended in relation to the suspected scam. The statement did not name the dealers responsible. 

Times of Malta can confirm that they are Għaxaq-based Rokku Autodealer and Tal-Qasab auto dealer in Santa Venera. 

Police investigations 'ongoing'

Sources told Times of Malta that the police had not yet spoken to either dealership at the time of writing.  The police force's communications unit declined to provide any detail about their probe.

"Police investigations are ongoing and therefore it’s not prudent to divulge further information," the police said in response to questions.

Roderick Vella of Rokku Autodealer refused to answer any questions when contacted by Times of Malta. Attempts to reach Alexander and Chris Spiteri of Tal-Qasab were unsuccessful.

Criminal lawyer Franco Debono, who is representing both dealers, said his clients deny any wrongdoing.

“They have asked me to speak on their behalf and say that they deny any wrongdoing as is being alleged. They have no further comments to make about the matter”, Debono said.

It remains unclear whether other car dealerships are also suspected of being involved.

Fenech said the UVIA would be meeting all its members individually, to ensure the association's reputation was untarnished. He encouraged any car owners with suspicions to verify their odometer readings and to speak to the authorities if they suspected foul play. 

According to Malta Today's investigation, affected cars had their mileage slashed by anything from 30,000 to 130,000 kilometres. 

Dealers would buy the high-mileage cars by auction in Japan, import them to Malta and then register them with reduced mileage counts locally, taking advantage of lax controls by transport authorities. 

They are suspected of having then used the services of a garage in San Ġwann to alter the odometer readings on cars' dashboards, Malta Today wrote.

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