Robert Abela’s bank deposits shot up by €45,000 last year, despite taking a considerable pay cut when he walked away from his legal profession to become prime minister.

This would mean that if his €63,000 salary as prime minister is his sole income, Abela managed to save an impressive 71 per cent of his pre-tax salary in 2021.

The prime minister’s last available income tax return, from 2020, only lists his €63,000 salary and does not include his wife’s income. 

Abela went from earning hundreds of thousands of euros over the years as a lawyer to quitting his legal practice in January 2020 to take up the reins as prime minister.

Times of Malta had revealed in January that the retainer earned by Abela’s law firm more than doubled from €7,300 per month in 2013 to €17,110 in 2019.

In financial filings to parliament, Abela declared total bank deposits of €331,000 for 2020.

Last year, his bank balance shot up to €376,000, even though Abela’s total income compared to his years as a lawyer fell.

No property or share sales

Analysis of his parliament declarations did not show any property or share sales that would explain such a large increase in his bank deposits when compared to his salary.

When contacted, a spokesperson for the prime minister refused to say if Abela has other income streams, apart from his salary, which could explain the notable increase in his bank balance.

“The PM refers you to the statutory declarations of income,” the spokesperson said.

The financial declarations to parliament do not require an MP to list his income.

Cabinet members are obliged to make separate income declarations but the declarations for 2021 are yet to be published.

In his parliament filings, Abela declared ownership of an apartment and garage in Marsascala, a property in Xewkija and another property in Żejtun.

The Żejtun property is a sprawling villa built on ODZ land, bought by Abela for a mere €600,000.

Questions were raised about the property acquisition after it was revealed that the Planning Authority regularised unauthorised works carried out prior to 1994, shortly before the building was sold to Abela in 2017.

The illegal extension meant that the farmhouse doubled in size to 352 square metres in an outside development zone at a time when buildings could only be extended up to a maximum floor area of 200 square metres.

At the time, the Labour leader was chief lawyer to the PA.

The property was subsequently rented out to Russian nationals who had applied to buy a Maltese passport.

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