The major Italian police online gambling ring bust in Catania, Sicily last week (see previous reports) involved some Malta connections, according to a weekend report in the Malta Independent newspaper.
The report notes that the Italian investigators in Catania have revealed that one of the online sports betting businesses involved was MasterBet, an enterprise allegedly with servers in Malta.
One of the persons reportedly being held under house arrest by Italian investigators is Francesco Airo (37) a Sicilian who also owns a business in Malta. Airo is being investigated for conspiracy in illegal betting activities with representatives of the organised crime network Camorra.
Our readers will recall that the initial reports last week on the Catania online gambling busts revealed that 13 individuals had been arrested on allegations of involvement in a widespread illegal gambling enterprise that generated Euro 10 million a month.
Police spokesmen revealed that 107 individuals had been investigated in 19 Italian cities. In addition, the commercial assets of 46 “interested parties” were seized by police.
Investigators claim that the massive gambling ring involved extensive money laundering and was operated by two organised crime outfits which owned seven websites used for illegal betting in Italy.
These allegedly operated without the necessary permits from the Italian state and their gaming platforms were registered in Malta.
Police spokesmen revealed that the organisations were monitored through telephone networks and other undisclosed forms of communications.
It emerged during the investigations that the criminal organisations had contacted a Maltese former police inspector who used to work at the financial crimes investigation department and who has been recently arrested by the Maltese authorities suspected with the involvement in another crime.