Portugal and Europol take down illegal online gambling ring

Portuguese authorities working alongside Europol have arrested 30 people and indicted a further 93 individuals and 14 companies in Portugal, Luxembourg and Switzerland for providing illegal gambling services.

Operation Shadow Game was conducted between November 6th and 8th by the fiscal action unit of the Portuguese Republican National Guard, together with authorities in Belgium, and followed a 15-month investigation into illicit gambling activities.

The operation saw law enforcement agencies conduct 267 property searches in Portugal and eight in Luxembourg, resulting in the arrest of 30 individuals in Portugal and a detention in Luxembourg under the European Arrest Warrant.

The illicit gambling operation is said to have spanned Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland and used servers and software for the development of games of chance, lotteries and sports betting.

A total of €576,000 in cash was seized during the operation, alongside 3,000 computer devices used for illegal gambling, 22 firearms, 86 vehicles, and several bank accounts holding more than €6m.

Fourteen commercial companies and 93 people from Portugal, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Brazil were also indicted.

Europol said that the purpose of the network was to obtain and maximise illicit revenue through the chain of operators for subsequent reinvestment in licit enterprises. It estimates that the gang derived approximately €80m in criminal profits in Portugal and Luxembourg.

Europol added that its work with the Portuguese and Luxembourg authorities has led to the discovery of new international links.

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