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MW 25 April 2018

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maltatoday WEDNESDAY 25 APRIL 2018 News 2 Land identified for the Fortina project which now also in- cludes 109 apartments was sold by the government in three separate public deeds for €1.4 million. In reply to a parliamentary question by Nationalist MP Karol Aquilina, Transport and Lands Minister Ian Borg con- firmed that the land identified for the project originally con- sisted of public land. The Minister also published three deeds published in 1991, 1996 and 2000 through which the land was sold to its present owners. The first plot of land consist- ing of 465sq.m was sold for €256,000 in 1991 as an exten- sion of the Fortina Hotel com- plex. The second plot consist- ing of 2,992sq.m was sold for €250,000 in 1996 for the "ex- clusive use as an extension of the Fortina Hotel." One of the conditions specifies that any "building permit" on the site is at the discretion of the com- missioner of lands. The third plot, consisting of 1,421sq.m was sold for €920,000 in 2000. The Lands Authority had ear- lier confirmed that MPs will have to green-light changes to the original deed on which the new 15-storey Fortina Hotel in Sliema will be built. The redeveloped Fortina will include the rebuilt hotel as well as 109 new apartments, but the Lands Authority's CEO Carlo Mifsud said that the original deeds for the land on which the hotel was built has not been re- vised. "Any such revision, as in this case, would require a par- liamentary resolution," Mifsud said. The Lands Authority had al- ready issued its clearance to the planning application pre- sented by the developers which was approved two weeks ago. But Mifsud insisted that such a clearance "only implies that the applicant is being cleared to apply for a planning permit at his own risk and cost". In October, the Democratic Party had expressed concern that the inclusion of a residen- tial complex within the new Fortina was a clear change of use from that stipulated in the original contract, and would "necessitate a rethink of the ground rent, which is an in- significant cost in light of the huge amount of money set to be made". The permit envisages the demolition of the existing four- star hotel and spa wing of the five-star resort, and the build- ing of 109 apartments over 15 floors, as well as a ground-floor shopping mall and three levels of underground parking. It will also add five extra floors to the existing hotel tower, and build a new 13-floor hotel block in place of the spa wing, with restaurants at the plaza level. Fortina owners had acquired land for €1.4m CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 "I have a lot of respect for the Commissioner," Farrugia told this newspaper. "But she forgot her role. Her interest is chil- dren, and according to law, this includes both born and unborn children." While recognising that the chance for a successful preg- nancy is higher in the case of embryo freezing as opposed to egg freezing, Farrugia said that the cost for a higher chance is "dehumanisation of human dignity", adding that although there is a higher chance – there is no guarantee for the survival of the embryos. Farrugia continued to ex- plain that the interests of the child – both born and unborn – are "paramount", and that the Commissioner is a "gate- keeper" and "shield" to safe- guard these rights. But in her statement, Miceli explained that the Bill touch- es upon three main rights of the child: the right to life and health, the right to identity and the right to stable and loving care. The Bill, she said, provides a framework for embryo freez- ing in a way which maximises the chances of the embryo sur- vival throughout the freezing and thawing process, and thus eventually to develop health- ily. In this manner, the Bill respects children's right to life and health. With regard to a child's right to stable and loving care, Miceli said that the Bill's proposed extension of eligibility to single or same sex parents is a "natural con- sequence" of the broader and more plural definition of fam- ily units. Farrugia accused Miceli of justifying the Prime Minister's "make-belief " that "civil rights are superior to the universal right to life," and "accommo- dating to the appalling notion". PN spokesman 'disappointed' Similarly, Nationalist MP and spokesperson for family, chil- dren's rights and rights of the unborn child, Claudio Grech, expressed disappointment at the Commissioner's statement. "One would have expected the Commissioner for Chil- dren to delve into the very se- rious impact and situations in which unborn children will find themselves in due course," he told MaltaToday, citing the risk of termination by selec- tion and the postponement of rights whilst frozen, as well as the "soul-less anonymity of parents" which the children would need to come to terms with in their childhood. The Commissioner had said that the IVF Bill promotes the principle that the child's identity lies in the relationship with the parents, irrespective of whether the child is biologi- cally related to them. But Grech thinks that the Commissioner opted for a "su- perficial" and "trivial" justifi- cation, which he said is "sur- real to say the least." Pro-life organisation Life Network Foundation also re- acted to the Commissioner's statement, saying that she has "chosen to abdicate her duty and agree with the Bill." The Foundation said that freezing embryos puts the life of the baby in great danger, and reiterated the point that the Commissioner has a legal duty to look after the interests of both born and unborn chil- dren. Commissioner opted for a 'superficial' and 'trivial' justification - PN spokesman Godfrey Farrugia: The interests of the child – both born and unborn – are paramount MATTHEW VELLA THE private bank Pilatus is in the process of winding down, lawyers for Ali Sadr Hashemine- jad have confirmed. Although no notice of liquida- tion has yet been filed with the financial regulator, the defence lawyers of the bank's chairman – currently detained under ar- rest on charges of breaching US sanctions – told a US court the Maltese bank will be shutting down the business. The bank passed under the control of a "competent person" after the arrest of Hasheminejad at Dulles airport, accused of us- ing the US financial system to process payments of US dollars from a Venezuelan housing pro- ject to Iranian beneficiaries. Pilatus Bank was barred from liquidating, disposing, transfer- ring or dealing with its clients' assets and monies by the finan- cial services regulator. Lawyers for Hasheminejad submitted their reply to a US government motion to refuse pre-trial bail, that the bank "had its assets seized and is in the pro- cess of winding down as a direct result of the allegations in this case." They also said Hasheminejad was travelling to the UK to es- tablish a new bank branch there. But Nationalist MEP David Casa also tweeted that he was informed by UK authorities that the Pilatus Bank branch in Lon- don has been "closed" after their passporting notice had been withdrawn. "This money laun- dering institution has no place on our shores and the Malta branch must follow suit," the MEP said. Hasheminejad's lawyers dis- puted claims of a previous mon- ey laundering investigation on Pilatus Bank in Malta, saying they provided the court with an "actual letter from Maltese au- thorities indicating that Mr Sadr was not under investigation"; and that an insinuation that Maltese authorities had "independently started an investigation is… just plain wrong." The MFSA appointed Law- rence Connell as a "competent person" to take charge of all the bank's assets, including those re- lated to the investment services business of Pilatus Bank. Connell assumed control of Pilatus Bank's banking and in- vestment services for as long as the regulator deems fit. The administrator is tasked to con- tinue carrying on the bank's business. The MFSA also ordered the removal of Sadr from chairman and froze the assets of the bank's directors, shareholders and top management, in a first move yesterday. Connell has enjoyed a long ca- reer as a US financial regulator at both State and federal levels. Pilatus Bank preparing to wind down according to US lawyers, while UK will not allow passporting of bank into London Pilatus chairman's lawyers tell US court bank is 'in process of winding down'

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