David Thake’s business filed no accounts for 10 years, has €550,000 VAT bill

MP says business will file 10 years of annual accounts within the month

Nationalist MP David Thake
Nationalist MP David Thake

A company belonging to Nationalist MP David Thake has had no accounts filed with the Malta Business Registry since its incorporation in 2011, save for its annual returns.

Thake did not dispute assertions by MaltaToday that his company Maltashopper Ltd, a successful stockist of Ikea and Maisons du Monde furniture, is facing an assessment for over €550,000 in moneys owed to the VAT department.

The revelations come a week since it was revealed that Thake’s other company, Vanilla Telecoms, owed some €270,000 in unpaid VAT, which is now part of a repayment plan with the authorities. Thake is sole shareholder in both Maltashopper and Vanilla Telecoms.

Contacted yesterday, Thake said he had taken action “many months ago” to appoint new company auditors and engage new persons responsible for compiling Maltashopper’s financial accounts. “All overdue accounts will be filed this month. Of course, all the relevant penalties for this administrative failure will be paid in full.”

Thake did not deny that Maltashopper owed over €550,000 in VAT, but insisted that all his dues were tax-deferred under the government’s COVID scheme.

“The company does not have any dues to the Commissioner of VAT that are not tax-deferred under the government’s COVID scheme. I understand that you are not suggesting that a company should not be entitled to benefit from Government COVID schemes simply because it is owned by an Opposition MP.”

The VAT owed on Maltashopper’s turnover stretches back a number of years, MaltaToday is informed.

Thake, who prior to becoming an MP hosted a radio programme on party station Net FM where he cold-called appointees of the Labour administration grilling them on their credentials, admitted his companies deserved no special entitlement.

“The fact that a company is owned by an MP should not give it any special entitlement that absolves it of its obligations, and I can confirm that I have never asked for or been given any special entitlement either personally or towards my company.

“Our company was not immune to the challenges brought about by COVID-19 and like most companies took advantage of the schemes offered by government in the circumstances. All citizens and companies should abide by all their obligations towards the country's fiscal regime. On the other hand, Government is morally obliged to spend these hard-earned taxes responsibly and avoid issuing direct orders to the select few.”

Thake has previously said his companies “always scrupulously declared every cent of its sales” and that Vanilla Telecoms’ VAT returns were filed on time and there was “absolutely no allegation of any tax evasion on the part of the company”.

Thake was elected to parliament in a casual election in March 2020, taking the 12th district seat vacated by former PN leader Simon Busuttil. A former PN councillor in St Paul’s Bay, Thake, he was also a vocal critic of former leader Adrian Delia who was ousted following months of internal party strife.

Thake has now asked parliament’s standards commissioner to investigate him, following revelations that Vanilla Telecoms owes €270,000 in VAT dues and penalties. The Labour Party has argued that Thake’s situation – which it claims is “tax evasion” – presents his party leader Bernard Grech with a credibility problem, as Grech himself had problems with the taxman in the past.

The PN has stood by Thake, rebutting in a statement of its own that prime minister Robert Abela was hypocritical to shield one of his own MPs who was caught with “up to €1 million in unexplained wealth” – a reference to Ian Castaldi Paris. Castaldi Paris will not be seeking re-election.

Thake has sued the Labour Party’s media over a story published last week alleging that he reached an agreement with tax authorities only after his outstanding dues were exposed by the media. The story, published on the online portal of One News as well as by One TV, was titled “Thake Ihallas Biss Wara Li Nkixef Li Ma Hallasx il-VAT.” Thake and his lawyer, Andrew Borg Cardona, said statements of fact in the story were false and were libellous, intended simply to tarnish his reputation.