Maltese gaming companies suspended over ‘Mafia’ links

23 July 2015

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has suspended the licences of a number of gaming companies in the country due to alleged relationships between the operators and Mafia-type criminal organisation, the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta'.

According to the Times of Malta newspaper, the allegations claim the companies form part of a global network also involving operators in Italy, Austria, Romania and Spain.

Led by Italian national Mario Gennaro, the Ndrangheta is said to have set up a number of betting companies in Malta as part of the organisation’s illegal gaming activities.

Gennaro yesterday (Wednesday) appeared in Maltese court alongside six other Italians, all of whom have agreed to be extradited to their native country where they are wanted for alleged involvement in organised crime.

Italian police have alleged that Malta-based companies Uniq Group Ltd, Uniq Shopping Ltd, Tebaral Holding Ltd, Tebaral Trading Ltd, Betsolution4U Ltd and Fast Run Ltd were all involved in the illegal activities.

In response, the MGA has moved to suspend the licences of Uniq Group (Betuniq) and Betsolution4U, both of which have been operating in the country since 2011.

The MGA has also alerted counterpart regulatory bodies in other jurisdictions around Europe about the case.

“This is further to investigations and arrests carried out by the Italian law enforcement authorities in collaboration with the Maltese police," the MGA said.

The Italian police said they have seized assets worth €2 billion ($2.2 billion) and issued 41 arrest warrants for gambling companies in Italy and abroad over links to the Ndrangheta.

It is alleged the companies, including those operating out of Malta, were used for money laundering.