Police seize three Maltese gambling companies in a mafia operation

Italian financial police

Italian police have seized three Malta-based online gambling companies with alleged links to the ‘Ndrangheta mafia. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Italian law enforcement authorities have seized three online gambling companies registered in Malta as part of the “Operation Galaxy” investigation into the ‘Ndrangheta mafia’s involvement in the island nation’s iGaming industry.

The companies are allegedly linked to Italian businessman Antonio Ricci, who officials say created a network of online gambling companies that would funnel a portion of their winnings to ‘Ndrangheta, based in Reggio Calabria, Italy, in exchange for protection Marketing their brands. The illegal gambling group, in turn, would send the collected funds to satellite locations abroad to avoid Italian taxes.

The estimated value of the seized assets is 400 million euros.

The Italian Guardia di Finanza carried out the seizures on behalf of the Direzione Investigativa Antimafia (DIA), which, in addition to the three unnamed gambling companies, also included two Maltese trusts and their financial portfolios. The estimated value of the seized assets is 400 million euros.

Meanwhile, a court has issued a two-and-a-half-year special public safety supervision order against 48-year-old Ricci, barring him from leaving Reggio Calabria. He had lived in Malta for a decade and fought extradition to Italy for other crimes before voluntarily returning to Italy in early 2020.

‘Ndrangheta connections to the Maltese gambling industry are not uncommon. In 2015, six suspected Mafia members were extradited from Malta to Italy to face prosecution for their involvement in an online betting money laundering scheme. And at the end of 2023, over 200 members of the ‘Ndrangheta were sentenced to a total of 2,200 prison sentences for a variety of crimes; They used online gambling companies to launder their money.


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