The extraordinary news that Labour MP and PN flip-flopper Ian Castaldi Paris has confessed to lying to accused murderer, alleged money launderer and 17 Black owner Yorgen Fenech about owning three multi-million-euro properties in London was greeted with universal derision.
The 43-year old former PN mayor who flounced off in a huff in 2014 because he wasn’t given enough attention – then joined Labour barely six months later – says he rushed to inform “the authorities” that he’d exchanged messages with the alleged assassin he obsequiously called “King” because he didn’t want them to think his deceitful boasting was true.
It was all “pure bluff,” apparently. Bluff, of course, being a euphemism for fabrication.
Astonishing. A member of parliament, a notary, Castaldi Paris has admitted to the “authorities” that he’s a liar. And, if he’s telling the truth this time, he’s admitted to being a persistent fibber, a spinner of yarns who habitually indulged in “bluff talk” – a habit in which he claims he no longer indulges.
The general hilarity the news caused was well deserved. Castaldi Paris has now told the entire country he’s one of the saddest, most pathetic kind of deceivers; those who tell porkies simply to impress people, to pretend to be someone or something other than they really are.
His rush to confess to using this type of puerile bragging to ingratiate himself with Fenech, at a time when not only had he been outed as the owner of 17 Black but also suspected of involvement in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination, was motivated by a rather less amusing reason, however.
He’d realised that when his chats with Fenech were examined by the police, they might think of comparing his cringe-making bragging with what he’d written in his parliamentary declaration of assets. According to reports, he’d declared he owned two houses in Lija, two flats in Santa Venera and his office in Attard. No mention of three houses in London.
Oops. In any other country, I’m quite sure we’d have been immediately informed by the police that they’re making enquiries to find out if this “bluff” talk, that, according to Castaldi Paris, is normal between men, was really nothing but bluster.
But in the dystopian nightmare that is Malta of September 2021, we’re going to have to keep our fingers crossed that our keystone cops don’t swallow this tall tale whole without dissecting it first.
The thing is, though, as we all know, once a liar, always a liar. And you can never trust a turncoat, especially one that switches sides because nobody paid any attention to his tantrums.
This Castaldi Paris is the same character who refused to testify to Standards Commissioner George Hyzler in the Rosianne “Nuxellina” Cutajar Mdina property case.
He’d been asked to draw up an affidavit for the seller of the house who was trying to retrieve the commissions he’d paid to Cutajar and her sidekick – a whole €90,000 worth – but then claimed he’d been “threatened” twice by a mysterious, unknown person or persons not to talk about it.
In his meetings with Hyzler, he refused to discuss what he knew but implied that he didn’t know anything about the property sale until the seller, Joseph Camilleri, asked for his help in getting his money back in 2020. His justification for refusing to testify was that the shadowy individuals had threatened him twice and he was now living in fear for his life and his family’s lives.
Did he ever report these death threats to the police? If so, did the police investigate them and identify the mystery threat-maker? As always, in Malta, nothing happens as one would expect it to.
A government MP has been issued death threats aimed at himself and his family, not once, but twice, and we hear nothing more of it. No statement from the police to say they’re investigating (and no, they don’t need a report from Castaldi Paris to investigate a crime of this sort), no update on whether the perpetrator has been identified, or caught. Or whether he/she even exists.
Because now that we know, by his own admission, that Castaldi Paris is a liar, how can we possibly judge whether this death threat situation was real, or just another example of his “bluff talk”?
And it’s pertinent to remember that the reason he refused to testify was that he feared for his life after having received these purported threats. There’s an element of convenience that leaps out at one, much as one would like to ignore it. Testifying might have forced him to tell some uncomfortable truths, in a situation where lying certainly isn’t condoned, even if it’s dressed up as “bluff”.
But bluster, lies and braggadocio apart, the chats he rushed frantically to self-report reveal something else that he’d rather they didn’t. They make it very clear that he did know about the Mdina property sale, brokered by Cutajar and her sidekick, to Fenech, and as early as September 2019.
Was it yet more “bluff talk” when Castaldi Paris blagged in September 2019 to Fenech that he had been on the verge of buying the same Mdina house before the 17 Black owner nabbed it? Fenech says he hadn’t realised Castaldi Paris wanted it, and he’d be happy to sell it on to him, because he “bought it for no reason”.
Hmm. I think we can all think of what a possible reason might have been. No, no, Castaldi Paris replied he’d already spent the millions he’d been planning for the Mdina house on a mansion in London, he said. Haha. Or not?
The past eight years have shown there are precious few of the current incumbents of Malta’s House of Representatives that deserve to be called “Honourable”.
Instead, the seats in the House are jam-packed with individuals accused of corruption, nepotism, misuse of public funds, trading in influence, abject incompetence, and even one alleged, real-life, honest-to-goodness bank robber.
Liars and frauds…the list of misdeeds allegedly committed by so many of the 67 men and women who supposedly represent the population of Malta reads more like the convict register in a particularly nasty prison.
Self-confessed fabulist Dishonourable Castaldi Paris has plenty of company. But he’d surely take the prize for being the most absurd and embarrassing Dishonourable in the House.