Mixer’s batching plant auction ‘null’ in BOV claim against Bastjan Dalli

Bank of Valletta wins right to demand €4.8 million loan repayment after court nullifies Mixer court auction

Bastjan Dalli
Bastjan Dalli

The law courts have upheld a request by Bank of Valletta to nullify the court auction for the sale of a batching plant previously owned by Bastjan Dalli’s Mixer Limited, and order the repayment of €4.8 million in loans and interest.

The court auction was originally held to have Dalli pay back a €2.2 million loan.

But BOV contended that the bank had not received payment and asked the court to revive the original executive title granted to it in 2002, given that ten years had passed since that court order.

Judge Lawrence Mintoff ruled that the court auction held in 2007 for the batching plant in the Ta’ San Martin area of Zebbug was null, since the actual payment was never executed. He also ruled that BOV’s executive title to have its loan repaid, was still in force.

When BOV won an original claim against Mixer, it obtained a court order to have the batching plant and the 23,500 square metres of land on which it was situated to be sold by court auction.

The auction was held in 2007, with the highest bidders being Neville Spiteri and John Dalli & Associates, the business firm owned by Bastjan’s brother John Dalli, the former Nationalist minister and European commissioner.

Another bidder was Joe Gaffarena, a previous owner of the batching plant.

The bank contended that the land at Ta’ San Martin was worth Lm2.8 million (€6.5 million). John Dalli & Associates presented a Lm1.45 million (€3.37 million) bid, but did not deposit the full Lm1.45 million to the courts’ director-general and instead presented a FIMBank bank guarantee.

BOV opposed the guarantee, insisting that winning bids had to be accompanied by full payments. In 2011, a court of law ordered that John Dalli & Associates pay the €3.37 million within 15 days.

In his decision, Judge Mintoff said that since John Dalli & Associates had not effected payment within 15 days of the 2011 order, the judicial sale was now null. Since the 2002 executive title granted to BOV had not yet been effected and ten years had passed since then, Mintoff ruled that BOV's demand to have the loan repaid was justified.

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