Malta
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Christian Borg loses bid to stop BOV closing his accounts

Car rental entrepreneur and alleged kidnapper Christian Borg was unsuccessful in a legal bid to stop Bank of Valletta from closing his bank accounts.

Borg and his company, No Deposit Cars Limited, failed to persuade the court to stop the bank from implementing its decision which they claimed was based on bad press.

Borg was arrested and charged in court in January last year in connection with a botched kidnapping in a case that is believed to have stemmed from the theft of cars.

Borg hit the headlines again last March following revelations by Times of Malta that his car hire-purchase company, No Deposit Cars Malta, made customers sign contracts accepting that their vehicles may have GPS tracking devices installed.

Scores of customers have filed judicial protests asking for their contracts with the company to be rescinded and calling for a police investigation into tax evasion and fraud.

Christian Borg seen in one of his luxury cars with a large cat cub.Christian Borg seen in one of his luxury cars with a large cat cub.

Last April, Times of Malta ran an exposé of Borg’s vast unexplained wealth, reporting that investigators suspect he may be using his car business to launder funds from drug trafficking and other criminal activity.

Borg and No Deposit Cars filed separate applications in court earlier this month requesting an injunction to stop Bank of Valletta from closing any of their accounts or stopping the provision of banking services.

They said their BOV bank accounts were the only ones they had in Malta and that the bank did not provide any reason to back up its decision. Borg said the bank’s decision especially jarred when the same bank, in January, approved his request for “platinum credit” which meant that he had passed any due diligence the bank had conducted.

Borg and his company claimed that it was “most likely” that the decision was taken due to “adverse media” publicity against him and the companies of which he is the ultimate beneficial owner. They claimed that this was discriminatory and unfair, especially when he always passed all due diligence tests.

He told the court that he was going to suffer “serious prejudice” if the bank was allowed to close his bank accounts or continue with its refusal to provide any banking services.

Borg further claimed that the decision will inevitably lead to the collapse of his two companies – No Deposit Cars Limited and Princess Holdings Limited – with inevitable repercussions on his family and hundreds of customers.

After upholding the application provisionally, Madam Justice Josette Demicoli set a hearing during which the bank said that Borg’s allegations were simply based on “pretended rights”.

It said that when the banking relationship with Borg began, he had accepted the terms and conditions.

Bank of Valletta said that just like any client had the right to stop using its services without providing an explanation, the bank too had the right to terminate any relationship with its clients, giving them two months’ notice to allow the clients to find an alternative solution. Four months had passed and Borg keeps getting extensions.

The bank refuted claims that it based its decision on bad press but neither could it ignore them, adding that it was bound by regulations imposed by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).

In her decision, Madam Justice Demicoli ruled that, without entering into the merits of the cases or allegations against Borg or any of his companies, Borg did not convince the court of the need to issue an injunction.

A warrant of prohibitory injunction is a tool to stop someone from taking action which could have prejudicial effects against somebody else. The law requires two elements for the courts to accept such a request. Firstly, the applicant must show that prima facie (at face value) he has rights, and secondly must prove that, if the court does not accede to a request for the issue of a warrant of the prohibitory injunction, then the applicant’s rights would be “irremediably prejudiced”.

In this case, Madam Justice Demicoli said Borg and his companies failed to satisfy these elements and, therefore, the court was turning down their request.