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MALTATODAY 28 August 2019 Midweek

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NEWS 8 maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 28 AUGUST 2019 A cosmetic shop which misled one of its customers into buying €500 worth of products has been named and shamed by the Malta Competi- tion and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA). The authority issued a statement about the case after the shop – Beau- ty Bar Venofys, in Valletta – failed to honour a decision delivered by the Consumer Claims Tribunal. According to the authority, a cus- tomer had been approached in the street by one of the shop's salesmen, who convinced him to buy a €250 acne cream from the shop. The consumer accepted to pur- chase the product, however during the transaction the salesman "added other products". The MCCAA said that the customer had been given the impression that the extra prod- ucts were being given to him free of charge. Rather than €250, the customer ended up paying €750 for his cream and upon realising, asked the sales- man for his money back. "Initially, the shop accepted the consumer's request to return the products and to refund the extra money paid but this solution never materialised," the MCCAA said. In deciding the case, the tribunal said that there was an element of confusion surrounding the condi- tions of the actual transaction, but said that it was clear that the con- sumer was willing to buy a product that cost €250. "As the customer was about to pay, at the very last moment, the sales- man began mentioning other prod- ucts which he included in the sales transaction," the MCCAA said, adding that he had only realised af- terwards that he had been misled. The tribunal noted that "this was not right" since in such transactions, "everything must be made clear from the very beginning". "The buyer must know exactly what he is buying and how much he will be paying for it," the MCCAA said. Unhappy customer paid €500 for 'free' acne treatment MATTHEW AGIUS THE defence in a case against disbarred former lawyer Patrick Spiteri has slammed the prosecution for "taking 20 years to achieve nothing", as it once again request- ed further relaxation of his bail conditions. Spiteri had been arrested in Surrey, England in 2014 and extradited to Malta on serious fraud and misappropriation charges. The 55-year-old former tax law guru had been living in the UK in a €4 million country estate owned by his wife's family, set over 15 acres of land, evading the Maltese authorities who wanted him to face allegations of fraud and misappro- priation of some €7.4 million dating back to the turn of the century. Having absconded to the UK, Spiteri had latterly been fending off the Maltese au- thorities with claims of illness which pre- vented him from travelling. He was suc- cessfully extradited on the third attempt in 2017 and charged under seven separate European Arrest Warrants. But since then, no progress had been registered in his case. For a time, proceed- ings had been derailed by Spiteri's claim to be suffering from Behcet's syndrome and attempts by his defence to have him held under house arrest due to the hundreds of volumes of documents he claimed to require to prepare his defence. He was eventually granted bail on condition that he does not leave his home. Magistrate Josette Demicoli was told this morning that recently, Spiteri had found Malta-based employment with a UK com- pany, which would require him to travel on work-related trips every so often. The Court of Magistrates had previously been told by his lawyer Stefano Filletti that Spiteri was now unemployable in Malta, but it had ruled this as simply a "hypoth- esis". Undeterred, last week Spiteri's counsel summoned four leading law firm partners, two businessmen and family members to testify as to his employability. All said that although he is competent and that they trust him, the reputational damage they would incur by employing Spiteri would be crippling. It would also cause them problems with banks and the MFSA with regards to due diligence and compliance. Spiteri had been humiliated by being forced to grovel for jobs and being refused, sometimes by old friends, submitted his lawyer. His mother-in-law is supporting him financially and has every interest in not having him skip bail because the bail money is hers, said the lawyer. As the accused has by now been grant- ed bail in the majority of the seven cases against him, Filletti argued that one could not have different courts ruling differently on bail for the same accused because that would mean that bail is being given ac- cording to subjective criteria. The court announced that it would be making a decree on the request from chambers. Lawyer Charles Mercieca appeared for the Attorney General's Office. Lawyer Ste- fano Filletti was defence counsel. 'Unemployable' Patrick Spiteri wants to travel to UK for job Patrick Spiteri

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