It-timbru tal-Mafja u l-‘Ndraghetta

diligence

 

L-ebda Awtorità f’Malta m’hi ser tgħidilna x’verifiki għamlet qabel ma ħarġet il-liċenżji. Dan jgħodd ukoll għal dawk il-liċenzji li ġew sospiżi dan l-aħħar wara l-ħruġ ta’ mandat t’arrest Ewropew għal sitt ċittadini taljani . Qed nirreferi għal dawk li kienu involuti fil-logħob tal-azzard elettroniku liċenzjat : iGaming jew remote gaming.

Li kieku l-Awtorità tagħti din l-informazzjoni ma tkunx serja għax tkun qed tikxef idejha!

Jibqa’ peró l-fatt li wara li ilna snin nisimgħu dwar kemm Malta hi l-iktar pajjiż serju f’dan il-qasam, tfaċċaw dawn il-każi. Ir-reazzjoni ġenerali hi li dawn qed jitfgħu dubju fuq is-serjetà li ilna nisimgħu biha.

Biex tgħaxxaqha kien hemm wieħed avukat li qalilna li ankè hu jagħmel il-verifiki (due diligence) dwar il-klijenti tiegħu. Peró dan l-avukat qalilna iktar minn hekk. Għax qalilna x’verifiki jagħmel. Fi stqarrija li huwa stess ħareġ dan l-avukat informa lil kulħadd li l-kumpanija tiegħu tivverifika l-passaport, il-kondotta tal-Pulizija kif ukoll li min japplika jkollu residenza fissa u li din tkun dokumentata.

Issa din l-informazzjoni hi kollha importanti. Li jkollok passaport validu, indirizz fiss u kondotta tal-Pulizija huwa tajjeb bħala punt tat-tluq. Imma ma naħsibx li hu biżżejjed biex tinduna jekk klijent huwiex assoċjat mal Mafja jew mal-‘Ndraghetta. . Imma wisq nibża’ li ftit li xejn qed isir tiftix iktar minn hekk għax kieku hu impossibli li jkun hemm daqstant li qed jiġru warajhom il-Pulizija Taljana u jinstabu fostna.

Wara kollox ħadd ma għandu timbru fuq moħħu jew fuq il-passaport li hu assoċjat mal Mafja jew mal-‘Ndraghetta.

Jiena ma naħsibx li xi ħadd hawn Malta fid-deher fittex li jissieħeb mal-kriminalità organizzata f’dan il-qasam. Probabbilment li kienu huma li bi ħsieb fittxew li jinqdew b’dawk il-professjonisti li isimhom ħasbu li seta jiftħilhom il-bibien mingħajr ħafna mistoqsijiet li huma jqisu żejda.

Hemm bżonn li l-verifiki jsiru ferm aħjar minn dak li jidher li sar s’issa. Fuq kollox hemm bżonn li titneħħa s-segretezza minn dan il-qasam.

Għax għalkemm in-numru ta’ dawk li qed ikunu kawża ta’ problema huma ftit, kull wieħed hu żejjed.

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Kulħadd irid jiekol !

Mario @ Parliament

 

L-aħbar li Mario de Marco, bħala avukat, qed jassisti waħda mill-kumpaniji tal-iGaming li l-ġimgħa l-oħra kellhom il-liċenzja tagħhom sospiża terġa’ tipponta lejn waħda mill-problemi fil-politika Maltija. Il-Membri Parlamentari Maltin  huma part-timers u jridu jibqgħu jipprattikaw il-professjoni tagħhom sakemm għadhom Membri tal-Parlament. Dan jiftaħ beraħ id-diskussjoni dwar il-konflitt ta’ interess potenzjali li għandu l-Membru Parlamentari Malti f’din is-sitwazzjoni.

Ovvjament, kulħadd irid jgħix, kulħadd irid jiekol!

Il-GRECO [il-grupp ta’ stati kontra l-korruzzjoni fil-Kunsill tal-Ewropa] jgħid hekk dwar il-Membri Parlamentari part-time ta’ Malta fl-aħħar rapport tiegħu li ġie ppubblikat f’Ġunju li għadda:

“Parliamentarians, in Malta are generally part-time legislators who also maintain their private practices. The potential for a conflict of interest due to the personal and professional networks and business links built across Malta, make maintaining decisionmaking independence, and being able to publically demonstrate this independence, a live issue.” (Fourth Evaluation report – 2014)

Sadanittant f’Malta, għoxrin xahar ilu kien konkluż rapport imħejji minn kumitat kompost mill-Ombudsman, l-Awditur Ġenerali u l-Kummissarju Elettorali Ewlieni, intitolat Recommended Remuneration Mechanism for Holders of Political Office. F’dan ir-rapport hemm diversi proposti li wasal iż-żmien li niddiskutuhom bis-serjetà. Dawn il-proposti jinkludu dawk dwar il-possibilità li l-Membri Parlamentari Maltin jibdew jaħdmu full-time fil-Parlament.

Ma jagħmilx sens li l-Membru Parlamentari Malti fil-għaxija jikkritika lill-Awtorità (hi liema hi) dwar kif din qed taħdem u fil-għodu fil-Qorti jassisti lil min jikkontesta l-mod kif tkun ħadmet l-istess awtorità. Il-Membru Parlamentari għandu juri b’mod ċar li hu legislatur indipendenti. Għax sakemm jibqa’ part-timer dejjem ser ikun hemm dubju raġjonevoli li ta’ l-inqas xi drabi huwa jkun immotivat mill-interessi tal-klijenti tiegħu iktar minn kull ħaġa oħra.

From toxic waste to iGaming

housecardsfall

 

It is a well known fact that the underworld on the Italian peninsula controls vast stretches of the Italian economy.

Some readers would remember the underworld’s waste-management activity that ended in the sinking of some 42 ships laden with toxic and/or hazardous waste throughout the Mediterranean. This was well known to environmentalists but confirmed during the Palermo maxi-processo, when Mafia turncoat Francesco Fonti gave evidence identifying the location of one such sunken ship, the Kunsky, loaded with 120 barrels of toxic waste, just off the Calabrian coast.

This network of organised environmental crime is so vast that, at one time, it also dumped toxic, hazardous and nuclear waste in Somalia. The warlords in the Somalia civil war were partly financed by the Italian underworld, which supplied them with arms in return for their consent to the dumping of the toxic, hazardous and nuclear waste in Somalia. Rai Tre’s investigative journalist Ilaria Alpi and her cameraman Miran Hrovatin were murdered in Mogadishu after having successfully tracked down the toxic shipments.

In early 2008 it was identified that buffalo mozzarella originating from some 83 dairy farms in an area near Naples was tainted with dioxin. The buffalo were grazing in an area where the Mafia was controlling the dumping of toxic waste  containing dioxin. When ingested through food dioxin can cause birth defects and organ failure in mammals. Large quantities of buffalo mozzarella tainted with dioxin were withdrawn from the market.

Carmine Schiavone, another Mafia turncoat, spilled the beans on more dumping of toxic and hazardous waste by the Mafia in the Naples area, in particular in the area around Casale di Principe. It has been reported that the incidence of cancer in these areas has skyrocketed as a result of the dumping contaminating the water table.

It is estimated that the underworld has garnered some €20 billion a year in the last few years from its illicit dealings in waste. Add to this the billions from its drug dealings, estimated at another €20 billion annually and you can clearly understand the Mafia’s need to launder huge sums of money.

Two specific areas seem to have been selected for this purpose. One such area was an investment in wind-farms in Sicily. Wheeling and dealing in the Sicilian wind farms was a certain Gaetano Buglisi who, for a time, made use of Malta’s fiduciary services by hiding behind their corporate veil. Last February the Italian Courts sentenced him to three years in jail as well as a substantial fine on finding him guilty of tax evasion.

It is within this context that one should try to understand the iGaming saga in Malta.

In the last few days the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has suspended the operating licences of a number of iGaming operators. Until the time of writing, six operators have been suspended, namely : Uniq Group Limited (Betuniq), Betsolution4U Limited, Alibaba Casino Limited, Soft Casino Limited,   Fenplay Limited and Soft Bet Limited . The MGA did not act on its own initiative but at the request of Italian law enforcement agencies.

In a press release, the MGA stated these licences had been suspended “further to investigations and arrests carried out by the Italian law enforcement authorities in collaboration with the Maltese police. The MGA is providing full support to the relevant authorities so that Malta’s reputation as a gaming jurisdiction of excellence is kept free from crime and money laundering. The MGA is also alerting counterpart regulators in other EU jurisdictions about this case.”

In a further press release issued on 25 July it was stated  “At the time of application (according to the MGA’s records), in line with standard procedures, all directors, shareholders, senior managers and ultimate beneficiary owners of these companies have been screened through MGA’s systems and protocols, using probity tools and national and international contacts and organisations. This forms part of the probity checks conducted at pre-licensing stage and before the actual business model of the gaming operation in question is screened and other control systems are checked and approved. The licensing process also includes independent audits, such as system and compliance audits which are carried out by approved external auditors.”

It seems that the due diligence carried out in Malta is no match for the underworld. It is possibly a case of amateurs trying to keep professionals in check.

On Thursday, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna stated that a review of due diligence procedures will be undertaken and changes will be put in place if  required. As a start, he should consider embedding complete transparency in iGaming. Hiding the identity of iGaming operators should be discontinued by emending legislation and discontinuing fiduciary services. This corporate veil is unfortunately being used as a tool by the underworld. As a nation we could do better if we make an effort to keep organised crime as far away from Malta’s economic activities as possible. It is pertinent to ask: how many iGaming jobs in Malta depend on Mafia linked operators.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday, 2 August 2015

On this blog on the same subject one can view the following :

2009 The eco-threat of the Italian Mafia.

2013 On Malta’s Northern doorstep: the Mafia contaminates Southern Italy with millions of tonnes of toxic and nuclear waste.

2013 Ecocide in the Mediterranean. The known consequences so far.

2013 Schiavone’s secrets on eco-mafia operations: when will Malta’s government speak up.

Qed tinħoloq bejta għall-kriminalità organizzata

Mafia linked-companies

 

 

Hu ta’ serjetà kbira li l-Awtorità dwar il-Lotteriji u Logħob ieħor (Lotteries and Gaming Authority) tirtira liċenzja.

Matul dawn il-ġranet irtirat diversi liċenzji u dan wara rapport ta’ investigazzjoni minn awtoritajiet Taljani li indikaw illi xi kumpaniji tal-iGaming f’Malta kienu qed iservu għall-ħasil tal-flus ġejjin mid-droga negozjata mill-kriminalità organizzata Taljana.

Ġew arrestati numru ta’ persuni ta’ nazzjonalità Taljana, liema persuni kienu identifikati mill-awtoritajiet Taljani.

Din hi biss parti mill-problema.

Dawn il-kumpaniji tal-iGaming, (logħob tal-azzard online) biex ġew irreġistrati f’Malta kienu eżaminati b’reqqa kbira, qalulna. Anzi “very stringent procedures“. Mhux biss il-kumpaniji, iżda ukoll kull min għandu jew kellu x’jaqsam magħhom. Dan l-eżami bir-reqqa, li jissejjaħ due diligence (kliem tqil biex jippruvaw ifhemuna s-serjetà kbira ħafna li hemm assoċjata ma dawn l-affarijiet) sar kemm mill-Awtorità dwar il-Lotteriji u Logħob ieħor (Lotteries and Gaming Authority) kif ukoll mid-ditti professjonali li jagħtu s-servizzi meħtieġa lil min jaħdem f’dan il-qasam.

Wieħed minn dawn il-professjonisti, f’mument ta’ serjetà kbira, fisser lill media fiex kienet tikkonsisti l-investigazzjoni ta’ għamlet waħda minn dawn id-ditti professjonali. Qalilna li din id-ditta : “carried out its own due diligence process to ascertain that the individuals concerned were of good standing. This was done by requesting certified copies of the ultimate shareholders’ passports, proof of residential address, as well as copies of their police conduct records.”

Tassew impressjonanti, xi profondità ta’ investigazzjoni. Mhux diffiċli biex tifhem li din l-investigazzjoni kif deskritta hi waħda superfiċjali għall-aħħar. Din hi kollezzjoni ta’ dokumenti u bl-ebda mod ma tista’ titqies investigazzjoni jew due diligence.

Fuq il-website tal-Awtorità dwar il-Lotteriji u Logħob ieħor issibu l-ismijiet tal-kumpaniji tal-iGaming li f’dawn il-ġranet kellhom il-liċenzja tagħhom irtirata: Fenplay Limited, Soft Bet Limited, Soft Casino Limited, Uniq Group Limited, Betsolutions4U Limited u Alibaba Casino Limited.

Tul is-snin li għaddew il-Gvernijiet differenti qalulna li l-kumpaniji tal-iGaming [jiġifieri kumpaniji bħal dawn li kellhom il-liċenzja irtirata] kienu qed jiġġeneraw ix-xogħol u kien ġustifikat (qalulna) li niġbduhom lejn Malta billi nagħtuhom rati favorevoli ħafna ta’ taxxa. Fil-fatt, taxxi, jħallsu ftit li xejn.

Qiegħed jidher ċar, u dan hu biss dak li nafu s’issa, illi Malta jidher li saret attrazzjoni għall-ħasil tal-flus mill-kriminalità organizzata. Sfortunatament l-“investigazzjonijiet profondi” li mingħalihom qed jagħmlu l-awtoritajiet Maltin (kif ukoll uħud mill-uffiċini professjonali f’Malta) ma kienux kapaċi jindunaw li mix-xibka tal-kontrolli kollha soffistikati li kellhom, għadda dan il-laqqx.

Ovvjament hemm kumpaniji li ma ħolqu l-ebda problemi. Imma sfortunatament huma l-kumpaniji li rtirawlhom il-liċenzja f’dawn il-ġranet li qed jagħtuna isem ħażin. Minn dan jista’ jbati l-pajjiż kollu. Għax qed nitilfu l-kredibilità u bil-mod qed nieħdu l-fama ta’ bejta għall-kriminalità organizzata.