Businessman who claims Delia took exorbitant €86,000 fee thinks PN due diligence fell short

Businessman blames Adrian Delia for financial hardship and breakdown in relationship with bankers

Adrian Delia is contesting the PN leadership election. Photo by James Bianchi
Adrian Delia is contesting the PN leadership election. Photo by James Bianchi

A lawyer for well-known furniture importer Boris Arcidiacono has written to the Panel of Experts which drew up the due diligence report on the candidates for the leadership of the PN, arguing that they had failed to adequately examine aspects of incumbent leader Adrian Delia’s  probity.

The due diligence report published this week did not pass a conclusive verdict but raised questions about both candidates.

“My client has no intention to enter into any political dispute however he feels that certain assertions made by Adrian Delia were not questioned when the facts could be easily verifiable,” wrote lawyer Cedric Mifsud.

In ongoing court proceedings, Delia stands accused by Boris Arcidiacono of having taken €86,210 from his loan facility with HSBC in collusion with the bank. Arcidiacono has sued the bank over the payment, which he claims was made without his consent. The case is still ongoing.

In June 2009, Mr Arcidiacono took a loan of around €800,000 from HSBC, the purpose of which was to settle outstanding debts and matters concerning property disputes with third parties. Adrian Delia had been his lawyer in the negotiations and had asked for a ‘success fee’ of €120,000 should Arcidiacono get the loan. Arcidiacono had refused to pay up and accused Delia of threatening to actively sabotage his case.

Arcidiacono says he did not initially sue Delia because he restricted his claim with respect to the bank which issued the payment to Delia. Nevertheless, the bank felt, that in view of the claims being made, it should request the court to order Adrian Delia to join the cause of action as a defendant and therefore answer the claims. The Bank’s request had been acceded to by the court and Adrian Delia has been a defendant ever since.

“The fact that there are press reports that claim that HSBC Bank plc and Chamber of Advocates have concluded that there has been no wrongdoing is irrelevant in the light of the fact that there is a pending court case on the matter. The proper forum to determine any civil wrongdoing is the Civil Court,” said Arcidiacono’s lawyer in a statement this morning.

Arcidiacono refuted statements made by Delia that his services extended to a number of matters including negotiations with creditors and the drafting of agreements. “The services provided by Adrian Delia never merited a total fee of €86,210. This exceeds by far the tariff established by the guidelines of the Chamber of Advocates and there was no agreement for such a fee to be charged in his regard.”

“Adrian Delia wanted to charge a success fee as acknowledged by the same bank in its reply. Moreover, the acts of the case also contain copies of the two invoices issued to my client which together amount to €86,210. It is to be noted that these invoices were only raised after Adrian Delia got paid by the Bank. No request for payment was issued before actual payment was done. This is evidence held in the acts of the case.”

Arcidiacono also took issue with the invoicing for “Fees for professional services rendered.” Whilst Delia seemed willing to be transparent to the Panel on the services he provided to the businessman, he was “less transparent” when issuing invoices, as the services he referred to before the panel were not mentioned in the invoice, he argued.

Arcidiacono reiterated that he never authorised the bank to issue Adrian Delia with a payment of €86,210, but said that this matter will be decided by Court.

He noted that the board had observed that the procurement of a loan should not be dependent on a third party such as a lawyer, adding that in this particular case, Delia had “a very limited role that surely did not merit a charge of €86,210.”

Arcidiacono’s lawyer reiterated that his client’s comments vis-à-vis the contents of the report, were not being made for political purposes. “My client simply wants to set the record straight on a matter that has caused him unnecessary financial hardship and has led to a complete breakdown in his relationship with his bankers.”