The Malta Independent 11 December 2017, Monday

Three Maltese being investigated by the Italian authorities over 'Ndrangheta case

Kevin Schembri Orland Thursday, 30 July 2015, 11:50 Last update: about 3 years ago

A total of three Maltese nationals are being investigated over their alleged involvement in the ‛Ndrangheta money laundering ring, two of whom are registered as directors of gaming companies in Malta. 

This newsroom has also identified two more Maltese fiduciary firms, which are not currently being investigated, which held shares in companies linked to the money laundering web.

Two of the Maltese under investigation - Kevin Mallia and Iosif Galea - are directors in two respective companies that were named by the Italian authorities as having been complicit in the money laundering online betting ring.  The third, David Gonzi, is a director of a fiduciary company that held shares in suspect companies. 

Kevin Mallia is listed as one of the directors of Uniq Shopping Ltd, one of the six companies identified by the Italian authorities last week. His co-director, Serena Parvenza, is also under investigation by the Italian authorities.  One of the shareholders in this particular company is Start Games Ltd, in which Mario Gennaro, described as the mafia clan's point man in Malta, is listed as the director.

Iosif Galea - who has something of a chequered recent history given his link to Silvio Zammit and the John Dalli snus scandal - is also under investigation by the Italian authorities.  Mr Galea had been recently identified by newsroom as the director of Betsolution4u, another of the six companies identified by Italian authorities, is a former compliance officer with the then Lotteries and Gaming Authority. 

David Gonzi, meanwhile, is under investigation as one of the shareholders and directors of GVM Ltd, the fiduciary company which is a shareholder in a number of companies linked to the Uniq Group. David Gonzi said yesterday he had not yet been contacted by the Italian authorities but that he will be contacting them himself over the allegations.

The documentation submitted by Italian investigators to the Reggio Calabria Tribunal had specifically mentioned David Gonzi a number of times, as well as his being the son of the former Prime Minister, and hinted that he may have played a central role in the web of companies.

In a statement yesterday (see below), Dr Gonzi said Italian investigators had failed to produce evidence that he played a central role in the network in their 770-page investigatory document.  He added, "In all fairness the report itself states that the conclusion 'requires further investigation' and is 'pending necessary further investigation'".

More Maltese fiduciary firms identified

The Malta-registered gaming companies that were on the Italian prosecutors' list formed part of a wider network spanning Malta, Italy, Austria, Romania and Spain.  The Maltese companies listed by Italian investigators last week were: Uniq Group Ltd, Uniq Shopping Ltd, Tebaral Holding Ltd, Tebaral Trading Ltd, Betsolution4U Ltd and Fast Run Ltd.

Two other fiduciary firms have also been identified by this newsroom, but they do not seem to be under current investigation by the Italian authorities. One such company is Finac Ltd, which is run by three lawyers from the GTG law firm - Ivan Gatt, Ian Gauci and Robert Tufigno.

Speaking with this newsroom yesterday, Dr Gatt said that Tebaral Holding and Tebaral Trading do not hold a Maltese online gaming licence, but, rather, an Italian licence.

He could not say much about the companies, citing professional secrecy. When asked about the due diligence checks carried out before becoming involved with the companies, he said that question should be directed to the competent authorities. He was also unable to divulge the name of the ultimate shareholder, also due to professional secrecy.

Dr Gauci, meanwhile, is listed as the director of Tebaral Holding Ltd, with Finac Ltd being the sole shareholder. Finac Ltd, in turn, is run by Ivan Gatt, Ian Gauci and Robert Tufigno, who all serve as directors, while Dr Gatt and Dr Tufigno are the shareholders.

Tebaral Holding is the primary shareholder of Tebaral Trading Ltd, whose listed director, Alberto Cesare, is also being investigated by the Italian authorities.

The other company identified by this newsroom is the Malta-registered PKF Fiduciaries International Ltd.  The fiduciary firm is a shareholder in three companies which on Tuesday had their Maltese gaming licenses suspended in relation to the ‛Ndrangheta investigation. PKF Fiduciaries International Ltd's three directors are George, Pierre and Daniel Mangion, who are not currently under investigation by the Italian authorities.

One of the three companies whose licences were suspended on Tuesday is Fenplay Ltd, whose director is Vincenzo Giuliano - an individual currently under investigation for his suspected close links to the ‛Ndrangheta clan and the money laundering ring. Giuliano was the administrator and person responsible for slimbet.com, which Italian investigators believe was used to siphon the proceeds of crime into the money laundering ring.

The other two companies are Soft Bet Ltd and Soft Casino Ltd, whose sole director is Maltese national Francois Farrugia, and who is not currently under investigation.


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