Ex-Smart City promoter on money-laundering charges

The charges relate to a 2008 transfer of property that is suspected to have derived from criminal activity

Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter, the former frontman for the controversial multi-million euro Smart City residential property project, has been charged with money-laundering, fraud and misappropriation.

The land on which this project is being built was originally meant to be used as an IT hub, under a deal signed between the Government of Malta and SmartCity in 2007.

Sources familiar with the case told Times of Malta that the charges related to a 2008 transfer of a property that is suspected to have derived from criminal activity.

Mr Carter, who is fighting the accusations in court, has also been charged with defrauding a Gozitan couple, a source said.

The Shift News first flagged Mr Carter’s troubles after an asset freezing order was published on the FIAU’s website in May.

The charges were filed against Mr Carter on February 23. Just four days later, Mr Carter resigned as a director of Shoreline Residence, which was promoting the Smart City property project.

Shoreline Residence was formerly known as Ricasoli Properties.

His shares in the company were transferred to a fellow investor.

His involvement in the project was in a personal capacity

Mr Carter was also a director and shareholder in Shoreline Holdings, the holding company behind the project.

A month after the money-laundering charges, Shoreline Holdings was renamed CT Limited.

Mr Carter retained financial interests in CT Limited through a company called SC Development Holdings, of which he is the sole shareholder.

CT Limited’s other shareholders, who include South African investor Ryan Otto, AgriBank CEO Roderick Psaila and DF Advocates partners Kevin Deguara and Jean Farrugia, set up another company in May 2018.

This company was once again called Shoreline Holdings but Mr Carter has no involvement in it.

The bulk of Shoreline Holdings’ shares are held by Mr Otto. Mr Psaila holds shares in Shoreline Holdings through his company, Ramm Assets.

The DF advocates partners also appear, on paper, as shareholders in Shoreline Holdings, via Middletown Properties Limited.

Contacted by The Sunday Times of Malta and asked if they feared the project may have been in receipt of tainted funds, given the money-laundering charges faced by Mr Carter, a spokesman for Dr Deguara and Mr Psaila said the Shoreline project had not received any financing from Mr Carter.

They said CT Limited did not form part of the Shoreline Group and was in the process of being wound up.

Mr Psaila further clarified that his involvement in the project was in a personal capacity and had nothing to do with AgriBank.

Questioned about the charges and Mr Carter’s involvement in the project, a spokesman for Shoreline Residence said there was no business relationship between the project and its former managing director, as this had been terminated in February 2018.

Mr Carter is also linked to plans to develop a hospital at Smart City.

When announcing the plans in 2015, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi had said the hospital would be operational by 2017.

It has yet to materialize.

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