Italians jailed for importing stolen luxury cars

Two Italian men from Naples who pleaded guilty to importing four stolen luxury vehicles in Malta handed reprieve after prosecution fails to prove cars' actual value.

Two Italian men who were caught importing four stolen luxury cars into Malta have each been jailed for five months after they pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them.

Luigi Cirella, 37, and Luciano Siviglia, 50, both from Naples, admitted to handling two stolen Mercedes vehicles, a Range Rover, and a Mini Cooper while another Italian man, Erasmo Decesare, and their Maltese accomplice, Joseph Chetcuti, of Gharghur, pleaded not guilty to taking part in the crime.

Decesare is also being charged with cannabis possession and with conspiring to deal the drug. The cases involving Decesare and Chetcuti have been transferred to another magistrate.

The four men arrived in Malta on December 21 via a catamaran from Pozzallo. They were all driving the luxury cars.

Informed sources explained that the police first arrested Decesare, who arrived in Malta driving a Mini Cooper. Further investigations led police to a garage in Gharghur allegedly owned to Joseph Chetcuti where they found another three luxury cars: a Mercedes ML, a Mercedes S Class and a Range Rover Evoque.

Moreover, police also discovered that the luxury cars, which are reportedly worth thousands of euros, had been reported stolen in Italy and that all had stolen registration plates.

Despite being warned that they faced a maximum punishment of seven years behind bars, the Neapolitans admitted to the charges.

Standing before Magistrate Marseann Farrugia, Cirella and Siviglia said that even though they suspected that the cars were stolen, they thought they were hired cars.

Cirella also said told the court that his fears where further confirmed when he could not locate the log book in the car’s glove compartment.

Siviglia also said that said that he told his Maltese accomplice that he was an honest person and that he was scared, only to be reassured by Chetcuti that everything was legal.

However, Magistrate Marseann Farrugia did not buy into this excuse, arguing that if Siviglia’s doubts were genuine, he would have asked for concrete evidence to prove that the cars were in fact hired.

Dismissing their excuse, the court also said that the accuseds' actions left it no option but to sentence them to an effective jail term, arguing that jail would also deter other foreigners who would come to Malta to commit an offence.

In her judgement, Magistrate Marseann Farrugia accepted arguments of the defence that since the prosecution had not brought evidence of the cars' actual value, the sentence had to reflect the car’s minimum value of €2,329.

After taking this into account, as well as the accused's early guilty plea and cooperation with the police, the court jailed the Italian men to five months behind bars,

Police Inspector Carlos Cordina prosecuted.