Delia sources: London tenants never paid money into Jersey account

Adrian Delia is refusing to disclose confidential client information on the ownership of the London properties, which rent was expected to pass through his Jersey account

Adrian Delia at a press conference the day after the PN ethics commission requested he reconsider his candidature.
Adrian Delia at a press conference the day after the PN ethics commission requested he reconsider his candidature.

Adrian Delia lent his services to Eucharist Bajada, the alleged owner of the London properties raided in the Operation Pabail prostitution crackdown, to receive the rent collected from his younger brother Emanuel Bajada – a source privy to the Bajada family feud has said.

The PN leadership candidate, who has said he will not withdraw from the race, used an account at Barclays International in the tax haven of Jersey, that had to receive the rent from the properties from licensee Martin Farrugia, whose sub-lessees were Eucharist’s brother Emanuel and his wife Eve Bajada.

In a press conference today, Delia refused to confirm the ultimate beneficial owner of Healey Properties and AAC Freight Services, the companies owning the London properties. “I don’t have authority to discuss my clients,” he said when asked whether Eucharist Bajada was the owner of the London properties.

Martin Farrugia appears as a licensee of Healey Properties, a Bahamas offshore company that owned the London properties, who then appointed the Bajadas as tenants through a management agreement.

The Bajadas were supposed to deposit the rent in a Barclays International account in Farrguia’s name, whose account ends in 9075, a different account to Delia’s.

A draft contract, unsigned, seen by MaltaToday shows that the London properties had been rented out since 2001 for a total of  £234,000 per year.

After the Operation Pabail raid on the London properties in July 2003, Delia engaged solicitor Roger Pitts-Tucker and granted him a power of attorney for Healey Properties, in order to defend the company's interests.

Delia then resigned as a director, in a company memorandum dated 2 December – a signed copy of which also includes the name of Chris Cardona, the Labour minister and deputy leader, but without Cardona’s signature.

A source close to Delia has told MaltaToday that Emanuel, aka Lolly, and Eve Bajada never deposited the sums, reportedly some £20,000 a month for various London properties.

The Bajadas, through a letter from lawyers Carter Lemon Camerons on 19 December 2003, appeared to accuse Delia of never having passed on the rent to the two property companies, Healey Properties and A.A.S Freight Services.

These counter-accusations suggest a feud at the heart of the Bajada family and its involvement in London properties, that at some point were used for prostitution.

It has been suggested that the "Eve" who collected the brothels' takings, as mentioned in a brown leather diary seized from the brothel by police, was not Eve Bajada but a 20 year-old working girl who was mentioned in the bill of indictment against the brothelkeepers; however that the collection of a brothel's entire earnings would be entrusted to a young prostitute is, at best, a remote possibility.

But it has to be said that the evidence from the UK courts about the Pabail raid does not suggest that the racket was introduced by either Healey or the Bajadas, but by Russian sub-tenants who were trafficking the women.

Shortly after the Operation Pabail raid by the London Met Police, Martin Farrugia appointed the Mallia & Associates firm in Malta to request access to his Barclays account.

Delia then engaged a solicitor to evict the tenants, before resigning from the company that owned properties. This is borne out by the documents already published by MaltaToday.

In January 2004, Martin Farrugia filed a judicial letter in the Maltese courts against the representatives of the absent Emanuel and Eve Bajada, calling on them to return funds “fraudulently withdrawn from an account at Barclay’s International.”

A faxed copy of this letter, number 262/2004 and signed by lawyer Anthony Ellul, was seen by MaltaToday. The existence of a judicial letter in those names, bearing that number, is confirmed by the court registry computer system, but the actual document appears to have “disappeared” from the court archives. Court staff told this newspaper that they could not find the document as it “seemed to have been taken out without the filling in of a movement form.”

Asked whether this was a regular occurrence, staff said that it was highly unusual.

A source close to Delia said this:

“If Adrian’s lawyer (Pitts-Tucker) is chasing debtors for rent and one of Farrugia’s Maltese lawyers (Ellul) filed a judicial letter against Emanuel Bajada demanding rent and lawyer Matthew Brincat wrote to Barclays asking for confirmation of funds supposedly deposited by Bajada and nobody filed suit against Adrian, the conclusion must be that Bajada kept the money. So no money was laundered.” 

Be that as it may, this still doesn't explain the suspicious rent payment structure.

MaltaToday was also allowed to listen to a recording of a phone call made by Adrian Delia on Tuesday to Barclays, asking for records about client account 80698504, sort code 20-44-90 – the account which he claims only held £2,000 and that he had closed in 2004. 

A bank representative is heard replying that she was unable to find the account and that the bank only keeps records for six years. “We hold no information at all. We don’t have any copies at all,” she says when the caller asks if there is some other way to obtain documentary evidence of the account’s contents.

Some questions remain unanswered, however. Amongst them  :

1.The legal letters suggest that almost £800,000 in rent from sub-lessees involved in a prostitution racket, could have been spirited away by the Bajadas. But if the properties are ultimately owned by Eucharist Bajada, what was the arrangement he had with his younger brother Emanuel, who had to deposit the London rents with other middle-men? How closely was Delia involved in this?

2.The Metropolitan police only prosecuted the sub-lessee for prostitution-related charges. They don’t appear to have tried to press charges against the tenant or the landlord, much less the Malta-based director of a company that ultimately owned the property. Why?