Investigation into Mafia infiltration of Malta’s online gaming sector expands

Italian prosecutors have concluded their preliminary investigations into no less than 34 people involved in infiltrating Malta’s online gambling industry with a view to siphoning off and laundering large amounts of illicit betting activity and ill-gotten gains from mafia clans .

The ringleaders, who the Italian media dub as the potential “Lords of Betting”, were Salvatore Cinà, Giacomo Dolce and Rosario Calascibetta. The ‘entrepreneurs’ had traveled frequently to Malta to settle, where they had taken over a number of online betting portals which were allegedly used to take illegal bets and launder Mafia money.

While some of their online gambling activity was conducted through legitimate and legal Italian platforms licensed by Italian authorities, investigators believe that the Maltese element of the operation was used for their clandestine activity.

According to Italian investigators, for every legitimate Italian operation, there was always a terminal connected to servers based in Malta or in Eastern European countries, where clandestine betting activities involving large sums of money were directed. ‘silver.

Italian prosecutors Dario Scaletta, Giovanni Antoci and Vincenzo Amico signed last Friday a notice of termination of the preliminary investigations in the case, which saw the initial number of Italians believed to have been concretely implicated in the Malta racketeering rise from 12 to 34 last year.

The prosecutors’ list of indictments now includes the criminal organization’s top management, middle managers and bet collectors.

Investigations by the Italian authorities showed how two Mafia clans, Passo di Rigano and La Noce, attempted to expand their business interests in Malta, with the three businessmen – Salvatore Cinà, Giacomo Dolce and Rosario Calascibetta – surrendering frequently in Malta to buy game portals.

The investigation carried out by the mobile team led by Rodolfo Ruperti and coordinated by the Palermo Anti-Mafia District Directorate also revealed how online gambling has become a favorite of mafia clans, as well as drug trafficking. The new line of business allowed them to revamp their families and business models.

Police Commissioner of Palermo Leopoldo Laricchia recently commented on the case: “This operation highlights the extent to which Cosa Nostra is interested in the world of abusive betting on sporting events, a channel for laundering illegal money from other criminal activities, and how the trade criminal has long been dematerialized. [where physical records are replaced by a paperless computerized system] running on the internet, involving other countries [such as Malta] with extreme ease.

According to the Italian authorities, each mafia family has its own contact person for the online gambling sector. Five prominent Sicilian businessmen have already been arrested in connection with this practice: Benedetto Bacchi from Palermo, recently sentenced to 18 years in prison, Enzo Romeo from Messina, Carlo Cattaneo from Castelvetrano Calogero, Jonn Luppino from Campobello di Mazara and Salvatore Rubino. from Palermo.

According to the Italian authorities, they would all have had close links with Malta and together they would represent some 100 million euros of criminal business activities.

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