03 Aug 2020
Wirecard processed transactions for a Malta-based online casino that was later found to have laundered funds for the ’Ndrangheta mafia organisation, the Financial Times reported Monday.
Italian courts determined that the gaming company, Malta-based CenturionBet, was used by an arm of the ’Ndrangheta to launder millions of euros in criminal profits outside of Italy, the FT said. The Calabrian mafia group is considered to be among the powerful criminal groups in the world and is believed to be funded by cocaine trafficking, extortion, arms smuggling and other crimes.
Wirecard provided financial services to CenturionBet until Maltese authorities revoked its gambling license in 2017, according to the report. The online casino, which had been incorporated in Malta but was owned by a Panamanian shell company, ultimately closed down following a subsequent police raid that resulted in the arrests of 68 people.
Since the raid, more than 30 people have been convicted for mafia-related crimes tied to the case, according to the report.
While Wirecard’s revenue from its relationship with CenturionBet accounted for only a small fraction of its broader operations, the Maltese company was not the only client of its kind for the German fintech.
Wirecard separately processed payments for another large gambling company in Malta that was later accused by Italian authorities of laundering funds for organised crime groups, the FT said.
A former Wirecard staff member told the newspaper that the German fintech conducted a compliance review of the second Maltese firm following news reports of its alleged mafia links, but the company passed the review on the basis of assurances it provided at the time.
Wirecard declined to comment to the Financial Times.
Read the full report here
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