David Thake sues One TV for libel over unpaid VAT story

One TV ran a story suggesting the MP only paid his due taxes after he was caught with pending VAT bills

Nationalist MP David Thake has filed a libel case against One TV over an article suggesting he entered into a tax agreement with authorities after he was caught with €270,000 in unpaid VAT.

The case was filed on Thursday against One TV, editor Edward Montebello, and journalist Samuel Lucas over the article titled ‘Thake iħallas biss wara li nkixef li ma ħallasx il-VAT’ (Thake pays only after he was caught with unpaid VAT).

It was reported yesterday that Thake reached an agreement with the VAT department for a repayment programme on the €270,000 VAT bill his company Vanilla Telecoms had to pay.

He told MaltaToday that the agreement has not yet been signed due to office closures over the Christmas holidays and his accountant being in quarantine.

The agreement was reached after reports surfaced of his company’s pending VAT. According to the tax authorities, Vanilla Telecoms owes €270,440 in VAT going back several years, with €233,515 amounting to pending VAT and the rest being interest and penalties.

Thake, chairperson and sole shareholder of Vanilla Telecoms, had insisted his personal tax position is “normal” and that he personally owed nothing to the taxman.

“All income has been declared in time and there is no allegation or suspect of tax evasion,” Thake said, adding that the police had erroneously filed a court case against him over eco-contribution tax which he said had already been paid.

After the reports surfaced, Thake reported himself to the Standards Commissioner requesting an investigation into whether he breached ethical standards at any point.