• Thu. Sep 23rd, 2021

Malta Chief Gaming Regulator Charged, Tied to On line casino Proprietor in Journalist Homicide


Mar 9, 2021

Posted on: March 8, 2021, 12:20h. 
Final up to date on: March 8, 2021, 02:29h.

Philip Conneller Learn Extra

Former Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) CEO Heathcliff Farrugia was quietly charged with corruption in January. The nation’s chief gaming regulator is accused of buying and selling in affect with Yorgen Fenech, the on line casino proprietor and businessman suspected of ordering successful on journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Heathcliff Farrugia, pictured above, is accused of supplying Yorgen Fenech with delicate details about opponents within the on line casino business. (Picture: Malta Gaming Authority)

The Instances of Malta has found that the costs towards Farrugia had been hushed as much as keep away from tarnishing the repute of the nation’s gaming business. Malta is among the world’s foremost on-line playing licensing hubs.
In accordance with the Instances, police uncovered incriminating conversations between Fenech and Farrugia after they examined Fenech’s cellphone throughout their investigation into Galizia’s homicide. The crusading  journalist was killed by a automotive bomb in 2017, probably for alleging a authorities contract to construct an influence station had been corruptly awarded to Fenech’s firm in 2014.
Insider Information
Police sources instructed the Instances that Farrugia supplied commercially delicate info regarding rival on line casino operators to Fenech. In addition they mentioned an anti-money laundering investigation that was being carried out on Fenech’s Portomaso On line casino. It isn’t clear whether or not Farrugia is accused of accepting kickbacks for supplying this info.
Farrugia resigned from the MGA in October, which is across the time that Maltese police started their investigation, in line with Instances sources.

The Galizia affair has rocked Maltese politics. Fenech’s ties to the very best echelons of Malta’s authorities introduced down the administration of then-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. He was compelled to resign within the wake of the on line casino proprietor’s arrest.

Three males, Alfred Degiorgio, George Degiorgio, and Vince Muscat have been charged with planting the bomb that killed Galizia, whereas Fenech is accused of masterminding the plot. A so-called intermediary, Melvin Theuma, has been pardoned for testifying towards the others.
Mafia Infiltrated
Malta’s gaming sector is accountable for some 12 % of its GDP and hosts a few of the greatest model names within the business. However elements of it have been infiltrated by the Mafia. Final Wednesday, Italian authorities seized over €80 million ($95.8 million) in property and introduced restriction orders towards 23 individuals in relation to the administration of the web site Increasebet24.com.
Police allege the positioning had hyperlinks to Sicily’s Cosa Nostra and had been concentrating on Italy illegally from servers primarily based in Malta.
The MGA has been criticized for failing to sufficiently vet its licensees. In 2015, the red-faced regulator was compelled to revoke the licenses of 9 on-line playing firms. These included betUniq, whose CEO, Mario Gennaro, was described by Italian prosecutors because the “level man” for the Calabrian Mafia in Malta.

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