Robert Abela has again failed to explain the specifics of his land deal with suspected kidnapper and money-launderer Christian Borg.
At the time of the deal, which hinged on a planning permit to turn a green field into a block of apartments, Abela was the planning authority’s chief legal advisor.
Abela, who has kept a low profile for the whole week, was questioned by Times of Malta at an unannounced event in Safi.
The Prime Minister denied making a €45,000 profit from the deal but refused to back up that denial with an actual counter-figure.
Abela also denied using his position at the planning authority to influence permit decisions.
“I was not involved in that permit, or any other permit. I always carried out my duties as a planning authority lawyer in a proper manner,” Abela said.
Abela decried the “spin” about the deal.
He said the 2018 deal took place before he became prime minister and three years prior to Borg’s kidnapping case.
Abela said he had, on his own initiative, “transparently” revealed his role in the deal to Times of Malta.
The prime minister walked off while being asked why he entered the property deal on the same day the planning authority permit was issued.
A few months after the planning permit was issued, Abela sold his stake in the property deal to Borg for a profit.
Abela, a lawyer by profession, was providing legal advice to both the PA and Borg at the time.
Borg had applied for a development permit on the 210 square metre plot of land in November 2017, one year before he had any visible stake in the property.
At the time, the property was the subject of a promise of sale agreement between its original owner and Malta Gas Distributors Ltd.
Malta Gas Distributors is co-owned by Bonnici Brothers and gas distributor Simon Buhagiar. The company has, in the past, also been represented by Abela’s legal practice.
The Abelas only entered the picture on June 1, 2018, with the promise of sale partially transferred to them the same day that Borg’s development application was formally approved by the PA.
The permit greenlit plans to construct nine apartments and underlying basement garages on the site, considerably increasing its value.