Money launderers' prison sentence, suspended on appeal

Father living off social benefits had lent his name to the transfer of two luxury cars paid for and used by his son

Court downgrades money laundering conviction from jail to suspended sentence
Court downgrades money laundering conviction from jail to suspended sentence

A father and son who ended up convicted of money laundering charges after they helped two of their family members purchase luxury cars, have had their 18-month jail term downgraded to a suspended sentence on appeal.

Pensioner Alfred Delia, 72, and his 51-year old son Marco had been convicted in 2013 after they were charged by police who suspected them of involvement in money laundering activity.

Delia, a pensioner who lived on social benefits, became the object of police suspicion after allegedly buying two luxury cars: a BMW Z4 and a BMW 530, at the same time as his son Marco was registered as the owner of a Mitsubishi Pajero.

The pair were charged with money laundering.

As court proceedings played out, it emerged that the father had simply lent his name to the deed of transfer and that in fact, both BMWs had actually been paid for and used by Freddie Delia, another one of Alfred Delia’s sons.

The court of appeal observed that despite being co-accused, Marco Delia  had only paid around €4,600 towards the €14,000 purchase price agreed upon for the Mitsubishi Pajero, in a solitary installment.  The court was told that the car was apparently used the most by Roderick Delia, another member of the family.

Both Freddie and Roderick Delia had been jailed in the past on drugs charges and had a history of trouble the police.

Neither Alfred nor Marco Delia were able to provide a satisfactory explanation for the source of their wealth and that paid by their relatives, noted the court, which upheld the prosecution’s assertion that the appellants had a case to answer due to the suspicious provenance of the funds used to purchase the cars.

However, having seen social inquiry reports about the two co-accused and because the men had committed the offences solely to help their relatives, judge David Scicluna, presiding the court of appeal ruled that the offence merited only a suspended sentence.

Having observed that the father had a near-spotless criminal record and that the son lived with his parents, was in employment and stopped using drugs long ago, the court opted to change the custodial sentence to an 18-month prison term, suspended for 4 years.

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