Man tells court of deception by former Shoreline promoter Stephen Carter

Man reported former Shoreline property promoter Stephen Carter to police over failure to pay him back €300,000 for undevelopable plot of land in Bulgaria

Stephen Carter
Stephen Carter

A Gozitan man has claimed was deceived by former Shoreline property promoter Stephen Carter into paying over €300,000 for a “potato field” in Bulgaria. 

Carter is being charged with defrauding, as well as misappropriation and money-laundering, The Times reported. 

The charges were filed against Carter on 23 February. Four days later, Carter resigned as a director of Shoreline Residence, which was promoting the Smart City property project. His shares in the company were transferred to a fellow investor. Carter was also a director and shareholder in Shoreline Holdings, the holding company behind the project, which has  now been renamed CT Limited. 

In court Joseph Curmi listed €337,000 in cash and bank draft payments that were made in 2008 to Carter for two plots in Bulgaria. 

Curmi told Magistrate Aaron Bugeja he flew to Bulgaria with Carter to see the 4,500 square metre-plot and that he had also bought a smaller plot right next to it. 

He said Carter, along with two associates from Rightlands Property Limited, Dione Vella and Norbert Camilleri, promised him that all the necessary permits were in place in order for the property to be developed. 

Then in August 2008, Curmi said Carter’s two associates called him to inform him that the contract could no longer go through, as Carter had not released the €337,000 sum, which was in his possession. 

Curmi said that after confronting Carter, the latter gave him back €99,000, but that he then lost contact with Carter. Upon receiving the lump sum, he passed it on to the two associates in order to continue the deal. 

Then in March 2009, Norbert Camilleri presented him with a contract that valued at €84,000 for the two respective plots. Curmi challenged the values, having paid more than double the amount for both plots. However, Camilleri informed Curmi that everything was in order, and that the value of the plots was correct and further documentation would follow. 

During a second visit to Bulgaria, Camilleri showed Curmi a different plot of land. So he went to what he said looked like a government department in Bulgaria to sign documents on the deal, but the clerk told him that if he signed them there was a possibility he could be arrested. “The papers in question were a mafia document that should not be signed,” Curmi said, and added that a lawyer advised him not to sign the contract. 

In 2012, he learnt from a Bulgarian agency that the field in question could in fact not be developed. “They told me its only use is as a potato field,” Curmi said, which led him to file a report to the police. 

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