Tyre Ltd operates out of a rented duplex in Sliema’s High Street

Published: July 5, 2013 at 1:02pm

Gold 1

Gold 2

While its registered office is John Dalli’s apartment at 1400 Block 14, Portomaso, Tyre Ltd operates out of a rented duplex consisting of the uppermost flat and the surmounting penthouse at 58 High Street, Sliema, opposite The Palace Hotel and a couple of corners away from Stella Maris Church.

There is no company name or charity name on the door, but this has not been a legal requirement in Malta for a few years now.

The duplex does not serve only as an office, but it is also where the operators live. Though there are several non-Maltese people connected with this operation in Malta, the only name available is that of a certain Mary Swan or Swann, who styles herself Lady Bird and signs her informal communications, like emails, as LB.

The email addresses she uses are the anonymous and generic [email protected] and [email protected]. Of the two mobile numbers I have for her, one is switched off and the other was answered by a woman who met my “Hello, is that Mary Swan, please?” with silence and then rang off. When I rang back immediately, it went to voice mail.

I called at the duplex in Sliema’s High Street late yesterday afternoon, but nobody answered the doorbell, which carries the surname of the landlord and actual owner of the duplex (German).

So I called the landlord, the medical specialist Karl German, to ask whether he is aware that the people who are renting his property are the very same ones who were in the Bahamas in the villa rented out by Claire Gauci Borda for their use.

Mr German was noncommittal, which is understandable as he would wish to maintain discretion where his tenants are concerned. He said that he was not aware of the details of the Bahamas story and had no way of knowing whether they are the same individuals.

I explained that the only reason I was able to go straight to his property as their current location was because I had been given the address by their ex landlord in the Bahamas – that he hadn’t in fact given me the actual address but described the building to me and explained where it is.

The reason he was able to do that was because, when they skipped out on the rent last September and refused to comply with his many requests for payment, he had come to Malta himself last winter, and knocked on their door looking for the $72,000 he was still owed.

Mr German’s response was that he is “not following the issue with any particular interest, but I can reassure you that these are very good people, Christians, who operate a Christian charity”.

I asked him why his name is still on the intercom, rather than the charity’s name. He replied that this is his choice, not theirs, and he wants to keep it that way because “it is still my flat”.

I suggested that tenants usually put their name on the intercom and not their landlord’s, and that if they don’t, there is generally a reason for it – either the landlord’s or the tenant’s. Mr German insisted that the “charitable organisation” is “completely above board” and that it “helps orphaned children in Pakistan and Russia”. He says he has no reason to believe there is anything untoward.

Sources who wish to remain unnamed say that while the people who run the operation are overtly evangelical Christians of unclear nationality, they speak about trading in gold and “operating gold mines in Africa” as a way of funding their charity. They also display and have sent to potential business clients pictures of gold nuggets, including the ones shown here.

This explanation is the reverse of what normally happens – in the normal course of events, the business is the primary objective, with a percentage of its profits being hived off to support a charitable trust set up in its name.

Tyre Ltd’s papers, however, make no mention of any charity, nor do they indicate donations to charity. They specify that the company’s business is dealing in precious metals.

Sources who wish to remain anonymous say that ‘Mary Swan/Swann’ is an assumed name or alias for a woman who uses an Irish passport while giving no indication that she was Irish-born.

Bahamas landlord Barry Connor told me that when he first visited the duplex last winter, looking for his money, he turned up without an appointment so as to take them unawares, and that it was Adrian Gauci Borda, John Dalli’s son-in-law, who opened the door to him.

58 High Street 1

58 High Street 2

58 High Street 3


18 Comments Comment

  1. Calculator says:

    The plot thickens.

  2. La Redoute says:

    Email Age: 1 Year Old
    Email: [email protected]
    Email Exists: Yes (According to Yahoo!)
    Creation Date: Oct 31th, 2011
    Location: Destin, Florida
    Nick Name: Millie
    Nick Name: Millie
    Given Name:
    Family Name:
    Gender: F
    Age: 72
    Birth Year: 1941

  3. Last Post says:

    I can’t help expressing my admiration for your direct, no-nonsense and thorough investigative skills.

    So, from what Mr German was told, this ‘charitable organisation’ operates gold mines in Africa and carries out its philanthropic work ‘in Pakistan and Russia’.

    This is not the (geographical) impression of operations one gets from John Dalli’s declarations and media revelations on this messy affair.

    • Dickens says:

      It sounds like it is the plot of one of those films like ”Blood Diamond” or ”The Good Shepherd” where humanitarian causes are used as a smokescreen for the exploitation of the natives.

  4. Lixu says:

    Don’t be at all surprised if Michael Cassar asks you to head Malta’s secret service as your network of spies is truly incredible.

  5. Josette says:

    Wouldn’t that amount of gold have had to be declared on importation? It certainly cannot have been mined in Malta.

    [Daphne – Nobody said the gold was here. You can see from the pictures that it’s in Tanzania. Nobody said the gold was bought by people here in Malta, either. Brokers and traders make deals between people who live in different parts of the world.]

  6. H.P. Baxxter says:

    Does anyone know where I can hire a heavy haul truck? I need it to deliver a giant bouquet to Bidnija.

  7. r meilak says:

    Who is and what case involved Joe Zahra being sent to prison? I’m trying to look up some information about this case, can you help please?

  8. Paul Lombardi says:

    How could our Prime Minister be so dumb, when trying to solve our problems at Mater Dei Hospital? Surely there must be somebody on this island with a much clearer mind than John Dalli, for the job. The man has got enough problems of his own to solve, before solving ours.

  9. *1981* says:

    Amazing. Time for another thanksgiving mass said by Dun Gorg.

  10. Reporter says:

    Who was Hiram Abiff?

    King of Tyre?

    When was he killed?

    At mid-day?

    By whom?

    By three assistant – whose names began with a J.

  11. JGrech says:

    Daphne you’re just tops xxx

    keep it going!!

  12. Gary Jameson says:

    Daphne, here is a link to the investigation by the Guardian newspaper into the failed British bank, Northern Rock. It’s an example of how a charity (or trust) can be a front for other activities.


  13. Selit says:

    1. Is tax being paid on the rent?

    2. MEPA website does not indicate a change of use application for the flat from a flat into an office.

  14. Riya says:

    But these crucial findings are not important to the Commissioner of Waiters.

    We understand that now he has more important things to do, like organising catering services for his dear minister.

    It is a pity that these issues did not emerge before his official statement that there was no case against John Dalli.

    If it was not for Daphne we would have never heard anything further about the case as the new administration did all its best to put all clues under the carpet.

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