The EU’s smallest member state, Malta, has become the Mafia’s El Dorado. This was the shocking conclusion of a study commissioned by the European Parliament’s Martin Schirdewan.
The report shows how Italian mafia clans laundered billions of euros through online gaming platforms in Malta between 2015 and 2022.
Four billion euros of assets were confiscated through investigations into online gaming related to Malta. The study found that “criminals, including those from Calabria’s ‘Ndrangheta and Sicily’s Cosa Nostra, have become part of the Maltese gaming sector through companies they set up and which they used to launder huge sums of money”.
Why is Malta so attractive to criminal organisations? Why are Mafia bosses so keen on Malta? What makes Malta such a haven for some of the most feared tough guys in the criminal world?
The answer was spelt out by Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri. He was compelled to admit that there wasn’t a single applicant for the vacant post of Deputy Police Commissioner.
Not even one single application for what should be a prestigious and highly attractive post. Malta’s police force is a spent, failed institution. Nobody in his right senses wants to join such an organisation.
Our police force has repeatedly and consistently failed in its mission to protect citizens from serious crime. Year after year, it closed both eyes to rampant corruption engineered at the highest levels.
It defied the requests of the German police to arrest Iosif Galea, the former Malta Gaming Authority official allegedly involved in money laundering.
It ignored a magistrate’s decree to prosecute Pilatus officials who ran a laundromat for politically exposed persons and the Azerbaijani ruling elite. It failed to shield the country from an influx of hardened criminals.
It refused to cooperate with foreign police forces and foreign jurisdictions, nullifying their attempts to combat serious crime.
It let Daphne Caruana Galizia be eliminated despite knowing of the serious threat to her life.
The former commissioner leaked inside information to those involved in the assassination of Caruana Galizia.
His deputy commissioner travelled abroad to watch Champions League matches with the man accused of money laundering and masterminding the murder of the journalist, Yorgen Fenech.
The former Malta Gaming Authority Executive chairman, Joseph Cuschieri, went on holiday to Las Vegas with the same man.
Iosif Galea, the former Malta Gaming Authority compliance officer, was receiving sensitive insider information from the regulator and passed this on to “interested parties”. He now faces money laundering and tax evasion charges. Despite being reminded three times by German police of his European Arrest Warrant, Malta’s police force ignored them.
Galea was not only allowed to roam free but was able to travel abroad on holiday with disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat. When he was finally arrested by the Italian authorities while on holiday, no proper independent inquiry was held about the police’s deficiencies.
Instead, a bogus internal investigation was held that completely exonerated the police leadership and pinned the blame for the abject failures on two low-ranking police officers. The ridiculous conclusion was that there had only been “administrative deficiencies”.
No action has been taken against the former commissioner. Or against his deputy, Silvio Valletta. Or Ian Abdilla. Nobody has been held accountable for the failure to arrest Iosif Galea.
Instead of leading to root and branch overhaul of the failed institution, the internal investigation served as a convenient broom brushing dust under the carpet.
The complete failure to prosecute Pilatus officials did not lead to a major restructuring of the force. Instead, the police force is wasting its energy fighting Repubblika, which demanded police action against the crimes uncovered by the magisterial inquiry at Pilatus.
No wonder Malta’s been overrun by Mafia clans. What could be better for a criminal organisation than an independent EU state which is part of the Schengen Zone and with a completely useless police force?
Malta is a paradise for the Mafia. Not only because of the pitiful state of its police force but because the minister responsible is Byron Camilleri.
When Josef Rivas was knifed to death in Paceville earlier this month, Malta’s police did not appear to know who he was. Romanian media reported that Rivas was linked to armed robberies, attempted murder and being part of an organised criminal group.
He was the subject of international arrest warrants. He was wanted in the UK in connection with two violent robberies, one involving a manslaughter case. The murdered man and the two Romanians accused of his murder were running an organised crime ring in Malta involving prostitution.
Instead of challenging the Police Commissioner on how a convicted Romanian previously condemned to life imprisonment could be running a prostitution ring in Malta, Minister Camilleri was busy uploading photos of irregular migrants.
When three members of the ‘Ndrangheta travelled to Malta to deliver a punishment beating to Giovanni D’Alessandro in Marsaskala, Malta’s police didn’t twig. The victim was left bleeding with broken ribs and smashed teeth and required hospitalisation.
It was the Italian police that brought the three members of the ‘Ndrangheta to justice. Did Minister Camilleri call the police commissioner to inquire why his force was caught napping again? No, the Minister was too busy defending Colonel Alex Dalli and his fatal strongman tactics at Corradino Correctional Facility.
When an innocent 20-year-old was killed under the rubble of an illegal building in Kordin, was anybody arrested? Has anybody been charged? No commencement notice was filed with the Planning Authority, and no clearance was obtained from the Building and Construction Agency.
The architect responsible, Adriana Zammit, a full-time Infrastructure Malta employee, broke the law by failing to present the notice. Has she been called in for questioning?
Complete lawlessness rules. Innocent citizens die while our police investigate the death of a cat in Mqabba.
No wonder no one is remotely interested in the Deputy Commissioner post. No wonder Malta’s become the Mafia’s favourite paradise.