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MALTATODAY 6 February 2022

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12 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 6 FEBRUARY 2022 NEWS MATTHEW AGIUS A judge upheld a request for a warrant of prohibitory injunc- tion to prevent the sale of a Tigné Point apartment and two parking spaces, which are secu- rity for a €10 million claim filed by the Saudi regime against its exiled, former spy chief Saad Al Jabri. The saga of the Saudi Arabian government's hunt for its former spymaster, a naturalised Maltese citizen Saad bin Khalid Al Jabri, continued in Malta's courts with a decision upholding a Saudi company's claim against Al Jabri. Al Jabri is a former minister and long-time adviser to the deposed Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, who has been living in ex- ile in Canada since May 2017. He acquired Maltese citizenship in 2016 through the Individual In- vestor Programme. In April 2021, the Sakab Saudi Holding Company filed proceed- ings in Malta against Al Jabri and his Cayman Islands company Ten Leaves Management, to pre- vent them from selling his Sliema sixth-floor luxury apartment. Sakab is a Saudi government company which claims Al Jabri used offshore structures to hide illicit profits for him to enrich his family, and purchase properties around the world. Al Jabri is accused of using Sak- ab as the vehicle to distribute €6 billion to other commercial entities between 2008 and 2017, as well funnelled to other mem- bers of the Sakab group "off the books" and not declared in the official accounts. Injunction case Sakab is attempting to secure €10 million in damages from Al Jabri, demanding a freeze on the sale of the Tigné Point apart- ment as "an expectation of dam- ages" against Al Jabri's estate. Sakab claims Al Jabri's wealth is the result "of criminal acts, misleading and fraudulent, in- tended to allow him to steal and misappropriate assets or money belonging to the plaintiff compa- ny in breach of fiduciary obliga- tions." Detailed explanations and affi- davits bolstered Sakab's request, as well as an asset freeze against Al Jabri by the Ontario Superior Court in Canada. Sakab's representative told the Maltese court that the alleged fraud committed by Aljabri was "well in excess of the €10 mil- lion being secured by the current warrant" but had limited them- selves to this amount in view of the defendant's property in Mal- ta. Al Jabri obtained Maltese cit- izenship through the IIP, the passport scheme for the world's global elite. Al Jabri has rebutted the alle- gations against him as frivolous and vexatious, claiming that he was being threatened and hunt- ed in an attempt by the compa- ny's owners, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman – pop- ular known as MBS – to silence him. Al Jabri informed the Maltese courts that two his children are still held in custody in Saudi Ara- bia, as part of Bin Salman's cam- paign to punish him. Al Jabri has also alleged he was recently the target of an assassination squad sent to Canada by Bin Salman. Al Jabri said the payments he had received were authorised by Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef and that this court application was just a part of a larger effort by the current Crown Prince to have him return to Saudi Arabia so that he can be killed. In addition, Al Jabri said the Tigné Point property was ac- quired only after the Maltese authorities carried out a due dil- igence exercise as part of his citi- zenship application. Madam Justice Vella Cuschieri observed that Sakab was claim- ing that the defendant had de- frauded it of large amounts of money. "The defendant does not deny receiving these amounts, but insists that he had been au- thorised to receive them. This is precisely what is being argued by the defendant in the proceedings in Canada." She ruled that as long as the plaintiff company was insist- ing that it had been defrauded and that it was not true that the transfer of funds to the defend- ant had been authorised, it had the prima facie right required by law. In view of the considerable amount involved, "far in excess of that secured by this injunc- tion" – which would fall due if the court proceedings against him succeed – the court upheld the request for the warrant of prohibitory injunction as re- quired, also ordering costs to be borne by Al Jabri. Lawyer Louis Cassar Pullici- no appeared for Sakab Saudi Holding Company, while lawyer Clemente Mifsud Bonnici rep- resented Al Jabri in the proceed- ings. Malta court upholds 'freeze' on Saudi spy chief's Tigné property Former spy chief: Saad bin Khalid Al Jabri JAMES DEBONO A four-storey retail development that will include a supermarket, offices, food outlets, health cen- tre and gym is being proposed on Burmarrad Commercials' car depot site, in Burmarrad. The Gauci family already owns the site, and is spearheading the development, which will include a 490-space, three-level under- ground car park. The development is made pos- sible by changes to the local plan proposed by the government in 2018, to turn a 20,000sq.m stretch along Burmarrad Road into a full-blown commercial area. The area was previously zoned for storage, vehicle repairs and showrooms at a maximum one-storey height. The new zon- ing allows commercial develop- ment rising to 17.5 metres. The changes were approved by the Planning Authority in 2019, despite concerns that this would pave the way for the ur- banisation of Burmarrad, which presently still blends in with its surrounding rural environment thanks to more stringent plan- ning rules. But the approval of a new pet- rol station on agricultural land, and the Kiabi discount store in- stead of a farmers' winery right opposite Burmarrad Commer- cials, further accelerated the transformation of the rural vil- lage. Additionally, Easysell Lim- ited is seeking a permit for a 17.5m-high office development, over disused agricultural land right opposite the Kiabi store. Its "hypermodern design" was deemed "incongruous" for Bur- marrad by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage. Further down the road towards Mosta, another supermarket is being proposed by Bonnici Brothers outside development zones, where a new roundabout is being planned. The Burmarrad Commercials redevelopment would increase the site's built-up footprint from 852sq.m to 4,600sq.m, a four- fold increase in gross floor area to 30,000sq.m. 35% of the building's energy consumption will be taken from a rooftop photovoltaic system, but generate an additional 1,417 car trips on Burmarrad Road. The excavation of the parking levels will generate 46,600sq.m of construction waste. The developers' project state- ment warns that the height and massing of the development will result in changes to "the visual character of the site". But the Environment and Re- sources Authority has already given its go-ahead for the devel- opment since it will be limited to an already committed area. The ERA has requested more land- scaping consisting of indigenous and fruit trees, particularly the side overlooking the area out- side development zones. Supermarket and mall proposed for Burmarrad Changes to local plan in 2019 allowed offices, retail and catering developments to rise to four storeys

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