Suspected gangster’s property trades for luxury cars

The suspected ringleader of a criminal group amassed more than 2.5 million euros in assets in his mid-twenties, using luxury cars as partial payment.

The residential properties, including brand-new penthouses with rooftop pools and a sprawling Mellieħa villa, were all registered in Christian Borg’s name over a seven-year period, between 2013 and 2020.

Documents seen by Malta weather show how Borg financed most investments without a bank loan, paying for much of the ownership in exotic cars such as a Ferrari 458 and a high-end Range Rover SUV.

The deals involve notable names including a car dealership linked to the Maksar brothers, the Tumas business empire, former official Labor Party photographer and notary and incumbent Ian Castaldi Paris.

Who is Christian Borg?

Borg, 28, was released on bail last week from Corradino prison after being accused, along with five others, of kidnapping.

His alleged victim, who until recently worked for Borg’s car rental company, escaped. He told police how he was beaten and would have his fingers cut off and his sister raped if he did not cooperate with her captors.

Borg and his associates are also being investigated on suspicion of narcotics smuggling and money laundering. He now faces allegations he staged a racket with senior transport authority and guardian agency officials to dodge millions of euros in fines.

Prime Minister Robert Abela was also involved in a real estate deal with Borg. The transfer included a legal loophole that financial crime experts say can be used as a backdoor to evade tax.

Abela strongly denied any wrongdoing but declined to say how much he pocketed from the deal and whether he performed due diligence on the young businessman.

Malta weather understands that investigators are looking into Borg property purchases as well as other business transactions.

According to deeds and other publicly recorded documents, Borg purchased nine properties between 2013 and 2020. These are in addition to others registered with his multiple companies and corporate structures.

Borg bought this Mosta penthouse with pool and garage in shell form by swapping it for a Range Rover.

A house in Marsascala

In 2014, Borg bought a maisonette and garage in Marsascala for €160,000 from BLMG Limited, a subsidiary of construction company BILOM Group.

According to handwritten changes to the transfer of ownership documents, Borg paid for much of the transaction through a Range Rover autograph given to the seller.

An insurance slip submitted with the contract indicates that the 2013 luxury vehicle was registered to car dealership James Zammit.

Zammit is the owner of luxury car dealership Cars Unlimited.

Malta weather is informed that Zammit is the registered owner of one of the cars seized from the Maksar brothers, Robert and Adrian Agius, accused of supplying the bomb used to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Property searches on Zammit show that in 2015 he had reached an agreement to buy part of a piece of land in Żebbuġ in an area known as “tal-Għarbi”, which belonged to the Agius brothers.

James Zammit, owner of Cars UnlimitedJames Zammit, owner of Cars Unlimited

Zammit, the son of a modest car dealership, has seen his business grow by leaps and bounds in recent years, recording a turnover of 33 million euros in 2018.

Responding to questions earlier this month, a government spokesman confirmed that Robert Abela also provided legal services to Zammit before becoming prime minister.

Malta weather previously reported how Abela also provided legal services to the Maksar brothers.

A Ferrari for your garage

Borg has recorded other real estate purchases which he has, at least partially, paid for using luxury vehicles.

One of the properties is a rather expensive garage on Buġibba’s Triq il-Qroll, which Borg also brought for €206,000.

The 2017 sale saw Borg transfer a red and black Ferrari 458 to the seller for €150,000. The remaining balance of €56,000 has been agreed to be handed over gradually.

This time there was no supporting documentation to prove the origin of the vehicle or its value.

In September 2020, Borg purchased a Mosta penthouse and garage in shell form for €161,000 from Ta’ Dernis Properties.

This time, Borg paid for most of the purchase by swapping the brick and mortar for a Range Rover Sport which he valued at €120,000. Again, no supporting documents for the vehicle were found when Malta weather searched through government real estate records.

The deal was signed by notary Ian Castaldi Paris, who at the time was already a backbencher.

Just two months ago, Castaldi Paris announced that he would not stand in the next legislative elections after Malta weather revealed how the tax authorities were suing him for around €300,000 in unpaid taxes. Authorities had discovered that he held almost a million euros in previously undeclared wealth.

Castaldi Paris had been the notary in a promise of sale deal that would have seen backbench MP Rosianne Cutajar walk away with a bag full of cash after brokering a deal for the alleged conspirator in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Yorgen Fenech.

Joseph Camenzuli (on the right) with the notary and deputy Ian Castaldi Paris.Joseph Camenzuli (on the right) with the notary and deputy Ian Castaldi Paris.

Ex-Labour photographer gets a haircut

In another deal signed by Castaldi Paris, Borg bought a large three-bedroom penthouse in Swieqi in January 2020.

Spread over two blocks with a lush rooftop swimming pool, Borg bought the property for €680,000 from Johann Montfort.

In 2011, Montfort was acquitted of attempted murder, but was still convicted of stabbing a man during a fight in Paceville in an act of self-defense.

A few months earlier, Borg also bought a Swieqi garage in Montfort for an additional €20,000.

In a move described as suspicious by sources familiar with the real estate industry, Borg listed one of his associates as a broker in the deal, paying him an unspecified fee on the transaction.

The “broker” in this case was Joseph Camenzuli, who was until recently the official Labor Party photographer. Camenzuli is in business with Borg and appears as a director in one of his many companies.

A Tumas penthouse

A year earlier, in 2019, Borg had also purchased a Baħrija penthouse and garage, with countryside views, for the modest sum of €280,000. He purchased the property from TUM Invest Limited, an offshoot of the Tumas business empire owned by the Fenech family.

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