Report: Malta's online betting firms worked with unlicensed Italian betting shops
Money laundering and financial crimes have affected Malta’s online gambling industry

It has been reported that over 50 people are expected to face serious charges after an Italian anti-mafia agency completed a year-long investigation into links between organized crime and Malta’s online betting sector. Identified people have 20 days to file statements, briefs and other documents with the Italian authorities.

The online gambling operators are accused of dodging €53 million in corporate taxes and €71 million in betting duty.

Operation Galassia was launched in November 2018, and uncovered a business that was earning revenue of over $4.38 billion each year and integrated illegal activity into legal operations in order to cover the illicit gambling. The investigation was led by the prosecutor’s offices from the Reggio Calabria, Catania a Malta-registered Austrian sports gambling business and Bari regions.

A Malta registered Austrian gambling company – SKS365 had 2,500 illegal gambling venues up until 2015.

As per the investigators, illegal bets were taken through dot.com websites Palace777, BetFaktor, GoldenGool, PlanetWin365, PremierWin365 and JokerBet.

Not so long ago, a southern European country was criticized by the Moneyval over repeatedly failing to act on anti-money laundering and financial crimes. Malta has been hit by various banking and gambling scandals related to money laundering. It was recently reported that FIAU (Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit) fined Statabank over various breaches of money laundering laws for over €3 million and its12,000 accounts were frozen by the Malta Financial Services Authority.

Source – Times of Malta

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