Some €6 million held in four Maltese gaming companies has been seized by the Palermo courts as part of anti-Mafia crackdown, Italian media has reported.
The Court of Palermo ordered the asset seizure last week on the back of a request by the Sicilian police, according to La Repubblica.
The case is focused on Phoenix International Ltd, which operated several online betting sites, including B2875.com, Bsport24.com and B28sport.com in Malta, before the Maltese authorities last year suspended its license.
The suspension had followed raids on dozens of internet cafés by Italian police, in a Palermo-centred anti-mafia operation dubbed 'Game Over'. Among the 23 individuals arrested in the operation was B2875 owner Benedetto Bacchi, the so-called ‘betting king’ who reportedly controlled a network of 700 betting shops across Italy.
Read: Malta-based gaming firms in anti-Mafia inquiry
Mr Bacchi’s betting shops – officially ‘data transmission centres’ or CTDs – featured terminals that connected to the Malta-licensed Phoenix gambling sites.
The unauthorised operations reportedly generated undeclared revenue of €1 million each every month, with a chunk of that sum allegedly kicked back to Cosa Nostra members.
Mr Bacchi and many of his co-accused have been formally charged with money laundering, mafia association, fraud and numerous other offenses linked to organised crime. Among the co-accused is Mafia clan boss Francesco Nania.
Meanwhile, the Sicilian police have also requested action be taken on 11 properties across Sicily, a number of vehicles, and several other companies believed to be linked to the racket.