Italian authorities have seized three Maltese online gambling companies in a crackdown on mafia-related activities. The companies are believed to have ties to Italian businessman Antonio Ricci, who allegedly built a network of online gambling entities that funneled a portion of their profits to the ‘Ndrangheta, a powerful criminal organization based in Reggio Calabria, Italy. In exchange for the payments, the mafia provided protection to the gambling companies and assisted in promoting their brands. Additionally, the illegal gambling group reportedly sent collected funds to satellite locations overseas to avoid paying Italian taxes. The estimated value of the confiscated assets is a staggering €400 million.
The Italian Guardia di Finanza, acting under the authorization of Direzione Investigativa Antimafia (DIA), carried out the seizures. Apart from the three unnamed gambling companies, two Maltese trusts and their financial portfolios were also confiscated. Consequently, a court has imposed a two-and-a-half-year Special Public Security Surveillance order on 48-year-old Ricci, preventing him from leaving Reggio Calabria. Ricci, who had been living in Malta for a decade while fighting extradition to Italy for other crimes, voluntarily returned to Italy in early 2020.
Connections between ‘Ndrangheta and the Maltese gambling industry are not new. In 2015, six suspected mafia members were extradited from Malta to Italy for their involvement in an online betting money laundering scheme. Moreover, in late 2023, over 200 ‘Ndrangheta members were sentenced to a combined total of 2,200 years in prison for various crimes, including money laundering through online gambling companies.
This recent crackdown on the Maltese online gambling companies reflects authorities’ ongoing efforts to combat mafia-related activities in the gambling industry. The post Italian Police Seize Three Maltese Online Gambling Companies in Mafia-Related Sting appeared first on Vegas Slots Online News.