[WATCH] Robert Abela denies accusations he influenced sanctioning of Żejtun villa

Robert Abela snubs claims the price of the property was undervalued and that he interfered in the regularisation of its illegalities

The 2,200 square metre villa was purchased at a bargain price of €600,000 in 2017
The 2,200 square metre villa was purchased at a bargain price of €600,000 in 2017

Prime Minister Robert Abela insisted the contract on his Żejtun villa reflected the real value of the property, snubbing claims he influenced sanctioning of its illegalities.

MaltaToday revealed how Abela acquired his Żejtun villa, a 2,200 square metre estate named ‘Ċinja’, just three months after it was regularised by the Planning Authority and freed from restrictions for its sale.

Abela and his wife bought the villa in July 2017 from an elderly couple, days after the PA sanctioned multiple illegalities on the site. The Abelas bought the sprawling property at a bargain price of €600,000.

On Thursday Opposition leader Bernard Grech accused Abela of using his previous position as lawyer of the Planning Authority to influence the regularisation process of a villa he was buying.

Grech said Abela had entered into a promise of sale agreement to lock the price of the villa and then “used his position as lawyer of the PA to fix the serious irregularities for his benefit”.

"I categorically deny the Opposition leader's allegations that I was somewhat involved in the permit grant of the property," Abela said on Friday.

At the time, Abela had just been elected an MP and his family firm had long enjoyed a lucrative contract to offer legal services to the Planning Authority.