Updated 4.15pm - The Nationalist Party finished repaying a €250,000 loan to a construction magnate six months ago, official party documents show.

A letter signed by both PN financial controller Malcolm Custo and Żaren Vassallo, seen by the Times of Malta, shows that the final repayment of a controversial loan had been finalised on August 1.

The loan has come under fire from the Labour Party, which has noted that the loan was made around the time that Mr Vassallo acquired a large plot of land in Qormi for what the National Audit Office has said was an amount under market value.

Asked about the loan and its alleged link to the deal, Nationalist Party president Anne Fenech said there was "absolutely and categorically no connection between the two."

This morning Justice Minister Owen Bonnici said the PN had a lot to answer and questioned conflicting media reports - one which said the loan had been repaid and another, published today, which said outstanding debts were still being settled.

Dr Fenech explained that the PN still had outstanding debts with Mr Vassallo, however, these were of a commercial nature related to his services as a contractor.

PN secretary general Rosette Thake insisted the party had not been in contact with Mr Vassallo about the loan since it was repaid. There was no evidence of any link between the loan and the land purchase, she said.

Despite this, Ms Thake was quick to add that the party had since changed its financing structures to ensure against large sums coming from individual contributors.

PL: PN HAS MORE EXPLAINING TO DO

In a reaction, the Labour Party said the PN had jumped from the frying pan into the fire by revealing that it had other debts with Mr Vassallo. What did these debts consist of?   

The PL said the PN over the past few months had given conflicting statements about its loans with Mr Vassallo and whether or not they had been paid. On January 10, Ann Fenech had said the debt had not been settled yet but now the PN was saying it as paid up in August.

Which was the true version, and how much debt had Mr Vassallo written off?  

 

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