[WATCH] Robert Abela denies pact with Ian Castaldi Paris for Speaker position

Labour leader flatly dismisses allegations that former Labour MP Ian Castaldi Paris will be Speaker, calling it Nationalist media spin

No Speaker deal for Castaldi Paris, says Robert Abela
No Speaker deal for Castaldi Paris, says Robert Abela
Robert Abela denies pact with Ian Castaldi Paris for Speaker position

Labour leader Robert Abela has flatly denied securing a pact with Ian Castaldi Paris to install him as Parliamentary Speaker so long as he does not contest the general election.

“It was spin reporting - I exclude it. There was never such a discussion between us,” he said on Monday. 

PN media portal Net News reported last Saturday that Abela reached an agreement with former Labour MP Castaldi Paris to appoint him Speaker, on the condition that he does not contest the election. 

Castaldi Paris announced last December that he will not be contesting the election following reports that he owes €300,000 to the tax authorities. Media reports indicated that an audit into the MP’s financial affairs found close to €1 million in unexplained wealth, although Castaldi Paris said the matter concerned much smaller amounts. 

According to New News, Castaldi Paris intended on submitting his candidature on the Labour Party ticket despite throwing in the towel late last year, supposedly prompting Abela to offer him the Speaker position. 

Castaldi Paris faced a string of reports concerning his property dealings and possible bluff with Yorgen Fenech. The Labour MP had admitted to MaltaToday of having dreamed up a lofty claim he made to Fenech of being a high-flying property investor in London, after the newspaper approached him over chats he had with Fenech in September 2019. Fenech was arrested two months later in connection with the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

READ ALSO: ‘It was all bluff’: Castaldi Paris bragged about fictitious £16 million London mansion to Yorgen Fenech

Castaldi Paris had said it was pure bluff from his end. He said he has no property, neither in London nor in any part of the world except Malta.

The chats revealed that Castaldi Paris, at the time not an MP, had known about the €3.1 million Mdina villa sold to Tumas magnate Yorgen Fenech in September 2019, because he chatted to the businessman just days after signing on the promise-of-sale agreement.

Apart from admitting to MaltaToday that the chats were nothing but bluff, Castaldi Paris insisted that his parliamentary declaration of assets was correct. The MP said he owns two residential properties in Lija, two apartments in Santa Venera, and his office in Attard.

In October, when parliament reopened after the summer recess, government removed Castaldi Paris as one of its members on the Public Accounts Committee and replaced him with Jonathan Attard.

Last year MaltaToday compiled a list of all MPs’ asset declarations to find out who enjoys the highest net worth. In contrast to the alleged €1 million in undeclared wealth, Castaldi Paris reported having €18,200 worth of bank deposits, with no additional loans or shares.