Italian authorities in the southern region of Calabria have frozen around â‚¬25m in assets as part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged mafia organisation with links to online gambling, report Malta Today.
The assets were seized as part of a joint investigation between the Carabinieri, the Guardia di Finanza, mobile police and Reggio Calabria.
The accused companies and trusts were allegedly set up by criminal organisations in order to oversee illegal betting operations, the majority of which are managed through fiduciaries.
Operation Gambling was launched in July, revealing a network of remote gambling operators allegedly used for money laundering by the â€˜Ndrangheta organised crime group.
Part of the network was headquartered in Malta, with six Italian nationals arrested on the island in July in connection with the allegations, including Mario Gennaro, who is suspected of leading the Maltese end of the money laundering operation.
The Malta Gaming Authority has suspended the licences of several operators as a result of suspected links to the Calabrian â€˜Ndrangheta, although three suspended Italian firms â€“ Uniq Group Ltd, Betsolutions4U Ltd and Fenplay â€“ are threatening to sue for millions of euros in damages should the investigation return no evidence of their involvement.
Italian police have also uncovered mafia-linked companies in Panama, Romania, the Canary Islands and the Netherlands Antilles.