MMA loans

The tax chief flew to Las Vegas with boys from a kidnapping gang

Former Revenue Commissioner Marvin Gaerty flew to Las Vegas in 2018 with two of the men accused of kidnapping and assaulting a man in Rabat.

Gaerty, who left his powerhouse role in late January, flew out in October 2018 with Christian Borg and Tyson Grech to watch the historic clash between MMA fighters Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor in Las Vegas.

But the holiday came just under two months after Borg, 28, was called in by the tax compliance unit for an audit of his company Princess Holdings.

At that time, Borg and Grech were running their car rental business and dealership, but had yet to submit a single set of their annual accounts for Princess Holdings and No Deposit Cars.

As accounts filed in January 2022 show, Princess Holdings has amassed 22 million euros in cumulative losses, despite Borg and Grech, 26, flaunting their wealth on social media with snaps of their holidays and supercars. Today they are accused of kidnapping a man whom they threatened to cut off his fingers.

MaltaToday has established that Borg, Grech and Gaerty all traveled together from Malta to Las Vegas in October 2018. All three tickets were booked together on the same booking. The three men were seated next to each other on the Air Malta flight from Malta to Frankfurt on October 3.

According to a social media photo posted by Tyson Grech at the time, he snapped a photo from the Skyscanner website with a pending selection for Malta-Frankfurt-Las Vegas flights and back – priced at £3,645 individually but at a total of £10,934, or for three tickets. A return ticket has been booked for the return on October 8. The Nurmagomedov-McGregor fight took place on October 7, at 4 a.m.

Another photo of Tyson Grech on social media shows him and Borg standing next to a Bentley they rented while on vacation. The same car appears in a drone photo taken by Grech and Borg, sitting in the back seat of the Bentley, with Gaerty at the wheel. The social media photo is dated October 5, 2018.

Then on October 7, 2018, Tyson Grech is pictured next to the same Bentley Continental, outside the MGM Grand, just before the Nurmagomedov-McGregor fight.

In comments to MaltaToday, Gaerty said he paid for travel, event and accommodation for the MMA event “along with a group of Maltese who attended this event”. Having met Borg at a boxing event, Gaerty, however, denied having a close friendship with Christian Borg.

“I know Christian Borg like I know many other people, including business people. I know a lot of people but my decisions have never been compromised in any way, as I have always said publicly. I always separate my personal life from my work and treat everyone the same when it comes to making decisions. I have always acted in strict accordance with the law and department policy and procedures,” Gaerty told this newspaper.

Gaerty was also asked if he saw fit to investigate Borg’s tax affairs, given that until December 2021 Princess Holdings’ accounts had never been filed. They are now shown to have racked up €22m in losses.

“As you know, I cannot provide any tax information due to confidentiality. I can affirm that the department has always taken full action in cases where taxpayers did not comply with the law. In fact, it is always up to the tax compliance department to open tax investigations, i.e. decide who to audit. I never care who they decide to audit – there is a special unit that decides who to audit”, Gaerty told MaltaToday.

Gaerty also said that as revenue commissioner, that did not mean he got involved or influenced decisions made by separate units within the department. “These decisions are left entirely to the directors of the specific units. In fact, before my appointment as commissioner, there was a procedure whereby the commissioner approved the files of investigations carried out by providing delegation. I immediately removed this procedure when I was appointed and left these decisions entirely in the hands of the Head of Unit.

Gaerty resigned in January after nearly 10 years in office and was replaced by Joseph Caruana, the permanent secretary to Ian Borg’s Department for Transport.

Gaerty assumed an advisory role on fiscal policy issues within the Ministry of Finance.

Shortcomings in the way tax crimes are discovered have been highlighted as one of the main reasons why Malta was placed on the so-called gray list of unreliable financial jurisdictions by the Financial Action Task Force last year. (FATF).

Gaerty has made headlines before, being questioned by police in 2020 as part of an influence peddling investigation involving Yorgen Fenech, who is accused of conspiring to murder Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017. An investigation into a 2014 exchange of messages between Gaerty and Fenech was closed without any charges being laid.

Princess Holdings

The surprising aspect of Christian Borg’s Princess Holdings, one of its main companies, is how it racked up €22 million in cumulative losses between 2016 and 2020. Accounts viewed by Malta Today show an opinion of unfavorable audit for a company fully supported by Borg, as a shareholder, and whose assets are mainly financed by creditors.

Since 2016, turnover has increased from just €10,000 to €988,000 in 2019, then to €254,000 in 2020.

But the company’s expenses, its cost of sales, climb from €2.9m in 2017 to €7.2m in 2020. Princess Holdings’ accounts, filed only with the regulator in early January 2022, reveal a company backed by to interest-free loans. from its shareholder – €3.6 million – and €26 million from creditors.

Accounts show that the company’s assets generate little revenue and that if creditors claim what is owed to them, there will be little to liquidate to repay them. The accounts also suggest that the business is operating without a bank account resulting in negative equity with losses year on year.

Meanwhile, Princess Holdings appears to have recorded €4 million in VAT receivable for 2020, in addition to €2.7 million in 2019, €1.4 million in 2018 and €695,000 in 2017.

Borg is also the sole shareholder of Princess Construction, which has 11 million euros in real estate acquisitions, according to its accounts.

His other company No Deposit Cars Malta is also backed by shareholder loans of €8.8 million in 2020, with some €10.8 million of used vehicles listed in inventory.

READ ALSO: Kidnapping Rabat: Who are the men behind a car rental business empire?