Lacking collaboration between anti-mafia authorities
The gaming watchdog fears that a possible result of a lack of collaboration with Italian anti-mafia authorities shown by the Malta police and regulators, could be the weakening of the fight against irregular activity.
Malta Gaming authorities stated that despite the regulator not being a law-enforcement medium, information relating to irregular activity in correlation with companies registered in Malta did reach it on occasion.
“The problem is that there is no collaboration between the Italian authorities investigating the Mafia, the Malta police and authorities like us. We are literally kept in the dark and find out what’s happening from the Italian press,” sources insisted.
MGA executive chairman, Joseph Cuschieri, reportedly said to Agimeg, the Italian gaming news site, that he would like to “start a collaboration” with the Italian Anti-Mafia Commission, and also any other agency that would want to be in the know about Italian gaming operators’ activity in Malta.
He also insisted that “a handful” of Italian companies that were registered in Malta, in spite of not actually operating here, were going through a review process.
This comes after the recent arrest of Benedetto Bianchi by Italian police, the former being a suspect relating to the membership of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, earlier this month.
The notorious Mr.Bacchi, regarded as the “King of slot machines”, was allegedly responsible for hundreds of gambling stores, each generating millions of euros. Authorities in Italy have reason to believe that Mr.Bacchi was utilising companies based in Malta in order to launder money made by the mafia from illegal activities, including drug trafficking, extortion, and others.
For this reason, the gaming watchdog has expressed concern that the Italian mafia has made use of Malta as a money laundering medium, through suspicious gaming companies registered in Malta.