A Maltese businessman who allegedly kept deposits on promise of sale agreement on apartments in Balzan and Bugibba was today remanded in custody after pleading not guilty to fraud.

Neville Spiteri, as director of Venille Company Limited and La Palma Imports Limited, was accused of misappropriating €234,000 from one couple, Elaine and Adrian Vella, and of misappropriating €224,000 to the detriment of Anna and Thomas Cortis and Peter Agius.

The alleged crimes took place between July 2006 and August 2011.

Before Magistrate Joseph Mifsud, Mr Spiteri pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him. Since the court was not convinced that he satisfied all the criteria to be granted bail, he was remanded in custody.

Mr Spiteri started being investigated in 2008. At the time, he gave his version and when the police called him back for questioning in 2009, he had turned up a day before the appointment to inform the police that he was travelling to Dubai and postponed the appointment to the following week. But he never turned up and has been on the wanted list since then.

Recently, the police were informed that he could have moved to Italy. A European Arrest Warrant was issued but the Italian police lost track of him and eventually found him in Germany where he was arrested and extradited to Malta to face the fraud charges.

Mr Spiteri, who told the court he worked as a property negotiator, allegedly accepted cash for a properties in Balzan and Bugibba that had not yet been built and which were subject to permits. These were never issued but the money was never returned.

Mr Spiteri also allegedly issued a number of cheques from a bank account that has long been closed. He told the police that the cheques were never meant to be cashed and that the cheques were issued only so that Mr Agius could show that he was owed money.

The cases continue.

Police Inspectors Yvonne Farrugia and Jonathan Ferris prosecuted. Lawyers Michael, Lucio and Noella Sciriha, Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia appeared for the accused.  


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