Malta is well-known as the online gambling hub of Europe, but it was recently discovered that several Italian Mafia clans have been trying to change the location of their illegal activities with the help of online gambling entities based in the island country. The news was reported by the Times of Malta and according to the information, as many as 25 mafiosi were arrested last week as a part of an investigation in Palermo. Most of them are already known to the authorities in Italy.
According to the police, the Mafia clans have already advanced with their plans to relocate the underground operations they lead. In order to arrest most of them, several police raids took place in Palermo, since there was an investigation in progress. The police were looking into the insinuation of the Mafia into some horse races which were held at a race track located in the Italian city. Salvatore de Luca is Chief anti-Mafia procurator in Palermo and he stated that what the investigation found out was that the bosses of the Mafia have been planning a transfer of their illicit operations to the island country with the help of online gambling entities based there.
Why Would the Mafia Relocate?
The reason for the shift was that the practice of utilizing extortion has become riskier in Italy and an easy solution would have been to relocate. It was reported that the clans based in Resuttana-San Lorenzo, which is an area in southern Palermo, have been devising elaborate plans for transferring. The reason why they have chosen the location was that Malta is well-known for its beneficial for the online gambling environment and the low revenue taxes it boasts. This is what makes us a desirable location for many online gaming operators, as it provides a mutually beneficial situation for all parties involved.
The Mafia masterminds also considered the location appealing as a well-organized financial vehicle and a way to put an end to the risky extortion practices they have been involved in. According to the plans which have come to a halt, was to locate investors in the island country, so that they can take care of the illegal activities. Among those illicit practices was the betting industry at Palermo’s race track which was closely followed by the police. It could be recalled, that last week saw the closure of the said horse race track on the grounds of it being controlled by one of the clans of the Mafia. The organization was altering the results of horse races in order to make the most of the revenue situation.
This is not the first time when Malta has been involved in an organized crime scandal and the most recent one happened several weeks ago. It involved seven people located in northern Italy, who were linked to the multi-million online gambling racket. In it, numerous gambling parlors across Italy were connected to a server hosted by a company based in Qormi. As a result, as much as €10 million in taxes which had to be paid to the Italian authorities were avoided.