Italian organised crime has been increasingly “migrating” to Malta in recent years, according to Italy’s anti-mafia investigators, the Direzione Investigativa Antimafia (DIA), in a report for the first half of 2022 presented to the Italian parliament this week.
The DIA reports Italy’s mafia clans are being increasingly drawn to Malta because of the ease with which customs controls are evaded, its EU membership and its proximity to Italy,
According to the DIA, such elements – coupled with a favourable tax environment and company laws – “have allowed the various clans to carry out profitable money laundering activities” from and through Malta.
Malta’s online gaming sector has also been used prolifically by mafia clans. The DIA notes, “It is also assumed that Cosa Nostra will keep its interest in gaming high, as has emerged from some investigations concluded during the six months under review.”
The investigations over the last few years show that among the most practised illegal activities in Malta by mafia clans are those linked to the online betting sector, in which it says the ‘Ndrangheta clans are the most active.
Along such lines, the DIA reports how on 24 March 2022, as part of investigations coordinated by the Public Prosecutor of Catania, a confiscation order was carried out on the assets of two suspects of a criminal ring aimed at collecting illegal bets with the aggravating transnational crime circumstances linked to Malta.
In March of last year, a judicial police operation revealed how some subjects acting in the interests of the Santapaola-Ercolano clan created an internet gaming platform that was not authorised to operate in Italy and belonged to a Maltese company.
The investigators also sound the alarm over how some judicial police operations concluded over the last few years show how Apulian clans, like other mafia groups, are “interested in the illicit gaming market whose proceeds have allowed the acquisition of shareholdings, financial resources, vehicles, boats, luxury accessories and real estate”.
As has happened in the past, the DIA warns that Malta “could continue to be exploited by mafia-linked clans” as a place where some of their members could lay low for a while away from the Italian authorities.
The DIA goes on to list several operations that featured Malta over the first half of 2022.
These included the 31 January 2022 identification of a complex €7 million fraud against the State by an association from Rimini that had ramifications throughout Italy.
“The group, exploiting multiple vehicle companies, reinvested the proceeds of crime [discovered during the so-called ‘Free Credit’ operation] to finance companies in Malta, Cyprus and Madeira.”
On 15 February 2022, investigations following the ‘Levante’ operation allowed the Bari DIA and the Guardia di Finanza to uncover a transnational criminal association with an operational base in Bari involved in the illegal sale of lubricating oils and the evasion of excise duties.
In particular, numerous sales of lubricating oils from Eastern Europe were reported going to Maltese, Greek or Cypriot companies. In reality, they were smuggled into the Italian market.
The DIA reports that over €2 million in excise duties was evaded through the ploy.
The ‘Boccaccio’ operation in Lamezia Terme on 17 February 2022 uncovered a criminal money laundering ring operating for years in Italy with associated activities in Malta, Switzerland and The Virgin Islands. Companies and personal accounts belonging to the suspects were seized during the operation.
On April 13 2022, authorities in Treviso found that some companies based in Malta – as well as in Bulgaria, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Germany – were being used by some smugglers to disguise the origin and final destination of significant quantities of diesel that were illegally introduced into the Italian market.
Well it’s official confirmation that most free thinking people have known for ten years, that Abela and cabal are just a front for the Italian Mafia and are living the dream on the backs of the bogans they claim to represent.
“The group, exploiting multiple vehicle companies, reinvested the proceeds of crime [discovered during the so-called ‘Free Credit’ operation]
How come that the name BORG (the lion king) pops up.
I was told this an Italian who had a restaurant in Malta up to a couple of years ago. He left Malta for another place in Europe, not Italy. He had told me that he knew these persons that had started to settle in Malta from Italy.
Some of them very well known in some circles.
Malta once again, mentioned and in the spot light, for ALL the wrong reasons…….
Our country has been destroyed by the very people who swore ON OATH that they would do their very best to uphold our constitution!! Truly SHAME ON THEM!
With the number and type of buildings sprouting across the island, it is very obvious to any investment banker that money laundering is alive and very much in your face. one could go as far as saying that help is readily available from the companies that are meant to prevent it.