Degiorgios' money laundering case: dealers fail to remember car sales details

Degiorgios' money laundering case: dealers fail to remember car sales details

Bail decree decision on Friday

The Degiorgio brothers.

The Degiorgio brothers.

Brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio alongside the former’s partner, Anca Adelina Pop, were back in court on Thursday as the compilation concerning money laundering charges against them resumed.

A number of car dealers testified about a number of luxurious vehicles including a Mitsubishi Elegance, a BMW, a Mercedes, an Audi Q3 and a Corvette which could have been in the possession of any of the three accused at some point in time.

The two Degiorgio brothers and Ms Pop had all lived a lavish lifestyle, owning cars and pleasure boats, whilst claiming to be unemployed. The investigation into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder, involving scrutiny of their banking transactions and the money they had, had sparked off the suspicions of their involvement in money laundering activities.

The two brothers, as well as Vince Muscat, have been charged with the murder in separate proceedings.

One car dealer from Qormi told the court how he had imported a Mitsubishi Elegance from the UK in 2013 which he then sold to George Degiorgio for a price he could not recall. Nor could he remember the method of payment.

“It’s been quite a while. I do not remember,” the witness declared, although he did recall that there had been a deposit and the outstanding balance had been paid in due course. However, there had been no bills of exchange and he had kept no record of any agreement possibly signed with the buyer whom he identified in court.

Another car dealer, asked about the sale of an Audi Q3, said that he could not recall much because he had since shifted his business to car hire instead of sales. He regretted having no log book copy and no record of terms of payment.

“I swear that I don’t remember the selling price. The car costs about €28,000 to €30,000 but I don’t remember how much I sold it,” the witness stressed.

Asked whether he could identify anyone in courtroom, the witness said that he could not. “Don’t think I don’t want to tell you or that I’m lying but I really do not know.”

Another car dealer testified about a red BMW imported by George Degiorgio himself. The dealer had just filed the necessary documentation to register the car at Transport Malta, the court heard.

A Corvette C7, imported in 2015, was the part-subject of another deal which was agreed upon with Ms Pop for the value of €94,000, which deal was later cancelled. The said vehicle cannot currently be sold by the dealer since it is hit by a freezing order issued by the court.

Towards the end of the sitting, magistrate Joseph Mifsud, presiding over the compilation, heard submissions on bail, with defense counsel David Gatt, assisting Ms Pop, arguing that all civilian witnesses had now testified.
Besides, his client was the mother of four minors and had a perfectly clean criminal record. Other persons similarly charged were granted bail upon arraignment, the lawyer insisted.

Prosecuting Inspector Antonovitch Muscat replied that indeed practically all civilians had testified, leading to no objections to bail so long as the court imposed substantial conditions.

The case continues on Friday when the court is expected to deliver its decree on bail as well as its decision as to whether there were sufficient grounds for the accused to stand trial.

Lawyer William Cuschieri is defence counsel to the Degiorgio brothers.