Recently back in August we reported that the Malta Gaming Authority had suspended the licenses of 3 operators that all had ties to the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta organized crime ring. This week it has surfaced that Italian police have so far frozen €25 million in assets as part of ‘Operation Gambling’, the investigation set up to snare the network of gambling companies that had been supposedly used to launder money for the organized crime syndicate.
Straight Outta Malta
A major side of the operations were based in Malta, where Police have stated that the companies were set up to run the organizations money laundering operation through iGaming businesses. Six Italian nationals including alleged mastermind Mario Gennaro were arrested in July over the scandal. David Gonzi, the son of ex Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, was also included formally in the investigations.“In addition to the frozen assets, police managed to seize €4 million in funds connected to the syndicate from both Singapore and Germany”.
Three Italian iGaming firms based in Malta; Uniq Group Ltd, Betsolution4U Ltd and FenPlay, were also raided in connection with the operation which saw the six men arrested. As the investigation starts to branch out worldwide, authorities have claimed arrests in the Dutch Antilles and also Panama in relation to ‘Operation Gambling’. In addition to the frozen assets, police managed to seize €4 million in funds connected to the syndicate from both Singapore and Germany.
MGA to review legislation
The Maltese Gaming Authority (MGA) have begun rigorous reviews of the current legislation but refuse to acknowledge that it has anything to do with recent arrests stating it had been underway for 2 years already. Last month the Maltese Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, the hon José Herrera MP, denied that standards had been slipping and commented that they had already tightened their processes of due diligence in the last couple of months prior to the arrests.
Aside of Gennaro, Police also arrested 4 more suspects from the Uniq Group; directors Sernea Parvenza, Margherita Giudetti, Marco Zucco and Antonio Trusci. The investigation into the Maltese operations of the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate continues.