Robert Abela’s villa is worth millions, Bernard Grech insists

Grech continues to pile pressure on the Prime Minister over his Żejtun villa 

Nationalist leader Bernard Grech said Robert Abela's Żejtun villa is actually worth millions, despite the prime minister purchasing it for €600,000.  

During a political activity on Monday evening Grech claimed that Abela secured the bargain price tag before the villa was sanctioned by the Planning Authority. He suggested that the price reflected the legal shortcomings of the villa, and not the regularised alterations.  

“Abela forced the owner to sell him the villa at a price that reflected the shortcomings. When the property was bought, there were no illegalities. The value of the villa isn’t €600,000 but much, much more,” he said.  

The villa spans 2,200 square metres, with unauthorised works having been carried out before 1994. The works were eventually regularised by the PA’s planning commission in 2017.  

The illegal extensions had doubled the size of the farmhouse to 352sq.m, when such ODZ (outside development zone) buildings could only be extended up to a maximum 200sq.m floor area. 

On Sunday Grech challenged Abela to publish the architect’s valuation of the Żejtun villa. If the contract price for the villa was undervalued, Abela would have paid less tax on the purchase.  

“I challenged Abela to publish the report that was presented to the Commissioner for Revenue. He is yet to publish anything 24 hours later.” 

Grech then acknowledged media reports from Monday afternoon indicating that Robert Abela made no mention of rent earned by lending his Żejtun villa address to two Russian passport applicats. Abela’s firm was previously an accredited agent for the Individual Investor Programme, Malta’s scheme for the sale of passports to the global elite.  

Robert Abela confirmed last week that he rented out his Żejtun villa to a prospective passport buyer from Russia. He stated that the rental agreement was signed before he became Prime Minister, but could not specify when the contract was terminated.   

Abela is not legally required to declare such rental income if the contract was originally declared with the tax authorities and if he paid a 15% tax on all the income made.   

“This is why Robert Abela doesn’t have any tax certification,” Grech said.