Rosianne Cutajar lashes out at Ian Castaldi Paris: ‘Trid tkun mejjet bil-ġuħ’

Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar told off parliamentary colleague Ian Castaldi Paris after it was revealed he was the notary who drew up a damning affidavit over the Mdina property deal that has landed Cutajar in trouble

Ian Castaldi Paris, a notary, was elected a Labour MP in a casual election
Ian Castaldi Paris, a notary, was elected a Labour MP in a casual election

Rosianne Cutajar was livid when she found out that fellow MP Ian Castaldi Paris drew up the affidavit implicating her in a property deal, WhatsApp exchanges show.

Cutajar messaged Castaldi Paris on the day when his name emerged in the media as the notary who drew up an affidavit for Joseph Camilleri.

“Are you serious? You have to be dying of hunger to accept to do a false affidavit against a colleague and a 73-year-old person (‘Int bis-serjetà? Trid tkun mejjet bil-ġuħ biex taċċetta li tagħmel affidavit falz kontra kollega tiegħek u persuna ta’ 73 sena’). I think you need to listen to my version… everyone is talking about you this morning,” Cutajar told her backbench colleague.

Castaldi Paris replied: “I swear on my children that the only reason I signed it was to protect you and now I am the one getting the blame.”

The exchange forms part of the evidence published as part of Standards Commissioner George Hyzler’s probe into Cutajar’s involvement in a property deal between Camilleri and murder suspect Yorgen Fenech in 2019.

At the time the affidavit was made in December 2020, Camilleri was chasing Cutajar and her political aide Charles Farrugia for a refund of brokerage fees after the sale of an Mdina palazzo to Fenech fell through following his arrest in connections with the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The WhatsApp chats were presented to Hyzler by Cutajar, who admitted that she was livid at her parliamentary colleague. Castaldi Paris and Cutajar are both Labour MPs.

Cutajar maintains that she did not receive a brokerage fee from the sale and her involvement in the affair was simply suggesting Fenech’s name as a potential buyer.

However, Hyzler did not believe the MP, insisting that on the “balance of evidence” she was willing to pocket a brokerage fee and her concern was not appearing doing so.

READ ALSO: Prime Minister shuts the door on Rosianne Cutajar after Hyzler report

Castaldi Paris claims being threatened

But Castaldi Paris’s involvement in the affair remains ambiguous. He admitted to Hyzler of knowing Camilleri and of having been spoken to about the Mdina deal.

However, Castaldi Paris would not testify about the affidavit, not even when Camilleri released him from his professional secret as a notary.

The notary said he did not possess an affidavit of sorts and kept telling Hyzler he could not testify about an affidavit that he was not seeing. When pressed, Castaldi Paris would neither tell Hyzler whether Camilleri ever did an affidavit.

From the evidence collected by Hyzler, Camilleri tore up the affidavit and the Standards Commissioner only got to see a soft copy version from the laptop of Times of Malta journalist Ivan Martin, who had penned the story naming Castaldi Paris.

Of note is Castaldi Paris’s comment that he was twice threatened not to release the affidavit. One of the threats came on the morning of his second appearance in front of Hyzler.

Castaldi Paris told Hyzler he will report the threats to the police but the Labour MP now refuses to say whether he actually filed a police report and whether he knows the person who threatened him and his family in relation to the affidavit.

Crossed out clause

A clause in the promise of sale agreement indicating brokerage fees of 3% and 1% from the vendor and the buyer respectively, was crossed out by pen. Cutajar’s aide testified that she had nothing to do with the sale, however, Hyzler also noted inconsistencies in the testimonies he heard that suggested Cutajar had done more than simply suggest Fenech’s name. She had also been present for the viewing of the property and had contacted Fenech since he was late on that occasion.

Cutajar did admit receiving €9,000 cash from Fenech but aid this was a birthday gift.

Hyzler concluded that Cutajar pocketed a brokerage fee from the sale and broke ethics when she failed to declare the income in her yearly declaration of assets filed in parliament.

The Standards Commissioner has also suggested that his report be passed on to the tax authorities for further investigation.

Times of Malta reported on Monday that the Tax Compliance Unit had initiated an investigation into the Mdina property deal, including Cutajar and her associate, soon after the news first appeared in the press.