Norway has banned transactions with six Malta-based gaming firms, which it accuses of operating “illegally” within its territory, the Times of Malta has learnt. 

A spokesman for the Norwegian Gaming Authority said the regulator had ordered banks in its jurisdiction to block payments to and from accounts identified as being used for processing gambling transactions.

Thus, Norwegian banks cannot transfer money to accounts held by the six companies, which, according to the gaming watchdog, were found to be marketing themselves in Norway and offering online casino and betting services to players there without its permission.

The Betsson Group, Co-Gaming Ltd, L&L Europe Players Ltd and the Gaming Innovation Group were sent warning letters last November about their “illegal” operations in Norway. Another two warnings were received by the Kindred Group and Lucky Dino Gaming Ltd this month.

Only two gaming companies are licensed to operate gambling services in Norway.

The spokesman said letters highlighting Norwegian regulations had been sent to both the companies and the Malta Gaming Authority.

L&L Europe Players hit the headlines in Sweden after journalists from the daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter uncovered a minority shareholding held by Tumas Group CEO Yorgen Fenech, whose interests in the gaming company were hidden behind nominee shareholders.

No wrongdoing on the part of either L&L Europe Players or Mr Fenech was alleged. 

Mr Fenech’s shares in the gaming company are held through TL Limited. His ownership is obscured through Trusforte trusts, which holds half of the shares in TL Limited on his behalf. 

According to TL Limited’s 2017 accounts, the company made a profit of €660,000 that year.

Read: 17 Black owner identified as local power station businessman

It emerged last October that Mr Fenech owns 17 Black, a secret company described in a leaked e-mail as a primary source of income for Panama companies owned by the Prime Minister’s top aide, Keith Schembri, and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi. The e-mail, sent by their financial advisers Nexia BT, said 17 Black would pay up to $2 million to the Panama companies. All those involved deny any wrongdoing.

An investigation into 17 Black began but sources said not much had been achieved by the police so far notwithstanding information handed over to them by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit identifying Mr Fenech as being 17 Black’s owner.

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