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Online Casino by the Mafia battered down in Malta

August 01, 2015

The Italian police announced that it will proceed vigorously against an online betting network of companies. The network, with some of it being based in Malta, is said to have a direct connection to the, Ndrangheta, the infamous Sicilian criminal organization. The police in Calabria assume that the 39-year-old Mario Gennaro is acting as the mastermind behind the network of illegal online betting and gaming in Italy on behalf of, Ndrangheta. Six Italian nationals, who work for Betuniq and live in Malta, were arrested under a European arrest warrant and will spend the next 10 days imprisoned in Malta until they are deported to Italy. The Betuniq, that is registered in Malta, operates 1500 amusement arcades and betting offices, spread all over the Italian territory. The Italian media described the operation as “economic power of gigantic dimensions.”

The Gaming Authority Malta has suspended the license of Uniq Group Limited (Betuniq) and Betsolution4U Limited with immediate effect. The company has been operating in Malta since 2011. The MGA agreed to fully support relevant authorities and is anxious for Malta’s reputation and that it is kept free from crime and money laundering. The MGA had also informed other regulators jurisdictions in the EU about this case. Judge Caterina in Catalano ordered the arrest of 41 people and the seizure of assets worth around € 2 billion. Gennaro was described as the “new man” of the Mafia (homo novus) by the judge. He tried to infiltrate the betting industry by allegedly lawful operations. Texas Holdem poker tournaments in Malta were apparently used to money laundray of funds derived from criminal activity. The Italian judge had figured out that Gennaro went on frequent trips to Malta and regularly took part in poker tournaments. The Mafia uses this legal multi-million-betting business for money laundering and tax evasion. The trust company GVM Holdings, which also owns the law firm of former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi that offers fiduciary services to dozens of gaming companies, is currently under investigation.

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