Yorgen’s €3.1 million Mdina deal, Rosianne Cutajar, and the judge’s husband

In May 2019, Yorgen Fenech signed a promise-of-sale to buy an Mdina home. Abigail Lofaro’s husband acted as the representative for the seller. The deal fell through, and Labour junior minister Rosianne Cutajar is being chased for a €50,000 broker’s fee she was paid in cash, but which the seller claims has not been returned

Parliamentary secretary for equality Rosianne Cutajar and her political aide are alleged to have received some €100,000 in brokers’ fees for the sale of a €3.1 million Mdina property to Yorgen Fenech – the magnate accused of masterminding the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The property transaction was officially carried out with a fiduciary company run by Pierre Lofaro, the husband of Judge Abigail Lofaro. The latter is one of the judges who accepted to sit on the board of inquiry instituted in November 2019 into the State’s actions in the run-up to the journalist’s assassination.

But the property sale to Yorgen Fenech has not yet been finalised with a contract.

The promise-of-sale was made out in May 2019 with Pierre Lofaro, who appears on behalf of the company Green Eyes Limited. Green Eyes is owned by two fiduciary companies run by Lofaro, but its ultimate beneficial owner is the Mdina property owner, Joe Camilleri.

Yorgen Fenech had already visited the property together with Rosianne Cutajar, who was then an MP, and her close friend Charlie Farrugia ‘it-Tikka’, who became Cutajar’s political aide after she was appointed a junior minister in February 2020.

Their viewings of the Triq is-Salvatur house are a crucial fact, because Cutajar and Farrugia are said to have claimed for themselves a finder’s fee of €50,000 each.

That allegation is stated in correspondence between Lofaro and a lawyer for Cutajar, in a contestation over the €100,000 brokerage fee (senserija).

Cutajar has not denied being involved in the sale of the property, but a series of questions sent to her by MaltaToday were left unanswered. Instead, she furnished the newspaper with a letter from her lawyer, Edward Gatt, to Pierre Lofaro. In the letter, Gatt says that Camilleri should address his request “to third parties”.

When the promise-of-sale was signed between Yorgen Fenech and Lofaro in May 2019 at Portomaso, the Tumas magnate tendered €300,000 as a cash deposit to the vendor himself – rather than being held in escrow by a notary, as is customary. Farrugia was present, but not Cutajar.

But the owner of the property accepted to have €100,000 of that deposit paid to both Cutajar and Farrugia by way of a broker’s fee.

As it turns out, the promise-of-sale agreement does not list any brokers’ fees. The contract was due to be signed in September 2019, but was extended in four instances over the course of October and November.

By the time Fenech was arrested on 20 November 2019, the property contract was never signed. But the property owner ended up chasing Cutajar and Farrugia for the €100,000 that had been paid early on in cash for their ‘brokerage’. The matter has now been taken up by Lofaro, as representative of Camilleri’s property, and Cutajar’s lawyer.

MaltaToday sought comment from Cutajar, which asked her to explain the request for the €50,000 broker’s fee to be returned to Camilleri.

This newspaper also asked Cutajar whether she had declared receiving this money, fiscally as well as in terms of her parliamentary declarations; whether the payment of the senserija had been requested by the buyer Yorgen Fenech, with whom she visited the property; and why another €50,000 was also paid to her aide, Charles Farrugia.

Whilst not denying any assertions made in the questions, Cutajar’s dry reply was her lawyer’s letter.

Rosianne Cutajar was twice-elected mayor of Qormi; in 2012, Charles Farrugia was elected as an Qormi local councillor. Now employed in Cutajar’s political secretariat, Farrugia has a close relationship with Cutajar.

Lofaro’s position in company

The lawyer Pierre Lofaro was director of the company Green Eyes until his resignation on 20 January 2020 – just over a month after his wife Judge Abigail Lofaro, was tasked to sit on the public inquiry board into the Caruana Galizia assassination.

Lofaro assumed the role of company secretary, and instead installed the Mdina property owner’s daughter Sarah Camilleri, as director of Green Eyes. The two companies which appear, nominally, as shareholders of Green Eyes are Finaserv Consultancy and Pierre Lofaro’s L&TD Fiduciaries.

Lofaro is also a 50% shareholder with developer Chares Camilleri, in Porto Notos, the company seeking to redevelop the derelict Jerma Palace Hotel in Marsaskala into three high-rise towers. Abigail Lofaro retains shareholdings in property companies Number 62 Property Limited, Five Stars Properties Limited, and The Platinum Construction Company.