Russian owner of rundown hotel that housed migrants, sells Maltese passports

Paloma Hotel will not be closing down despite Environment Health Directorate describing it as a 'public health emergency' 

The health authorities and the police had rained down on the property on 26 August when over 100 people had been evicted from the rundown hotel at St Paul’s Bay
The health authorities and the police had rained down on the property on 26 August when over 100 people had been evicted from the rundown hotel at St Paul’s Bay

The Paloma Hotel will not be closing down despite being described by the Environment Health Directorate as a “public health emergency”. However, it has been ordered by the courts to carry out remedial works in order to ensure that public health wasn’t put at risk.

Last month, police and health authorities rained down on the rundown hotel, evicting over 100 people.  

Christopher Drago, the landlord appearing for the owner of La Paloma Hotel and Blue Angel Apartments — Evgueni Bodistianu — was told that though maintenance works on the two properties had already been undertaken, further work as prescribed by court-appointed architects should be carried out “as soon as possible”.

The wife of Bodistianu is also a registered agent for the Maltese Individual Investor Programme, which sells Maltese citizenship to the global rich. Her husband Evgueni answered one of the registered mobile phone numbers used by the couple's agency two weeks ago when MaltaToday asked him if he was still the owner of the premises. He denied it.

READ MORE: Malta passport agents deny swindling Russian boarding school parents

In a letter sent to the owner of the properties, the health authorities had said that they would close down the complex with immediate effect because its dilapidated state was a “public health emergency”.

The hotel was described as being severely unhygienic, lacking electricity and providing broken beds, as well as having no lift service. Employees were also often left unpaid, according to testimony before the court.

“The court understands that public health is extremely important and that an order for closure can save the lives of many people,” the court said, adding though that it was aware that people who had no other place to stay had returned to the hotel. 

The court decided that the Paloma Hotel would resume its business but ordered it to clean up its act in accordance with the Environment Health Directorate and the architects’ suggestions as soon as possible. 

Mr Justice Francesco Depasquale was the presiding judge. 

Edward Gatt was defence counsel.   

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