Authorities in Italy have arrested 68 people and seized nearly €80m following a crackdown on organized crime families and illegal gambling across the country.
Those arrested are alleged to be members of organised criminal groups, including the country’s three major crime syndicates; Cosa Nostra, Ndrangheta and Sacra Corona Unita.
They have been charged with fraud, money laundering and operating an illegal online betting business, as well as engaging in violence, intimidation and corruption.
Police carried out approximately 80 property searches Wednesday in cities across Italy, with support from police in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Serbia and Switzerland.
Under the direction of Italy’s Direzione Nazionale Antimafia e Terrorismo (DNAT), with the assistance of the Guardia di Finanza, Police and Carabinieri, three parallel investigations were conducted into illegal online betting in Reggio Calabria, Bari and Catania.
Authorities estimate that the profit generated from the online betting operation amounted to billions of euros per year, much of which was laundered through investment in real estate and financial products using offshore shell companies.
“Today’s success is attributable to the hard work and cooperation of many judicial and law enforcement authorities around the world,” said Filippo Spiezia, Italy's representative at Eurojust, the EU judicial agency involved in the final phase of the investigation. Eurojust assisted the investigation by providing advice to national authorities in seven Member States and four other jurisdictions, including the Isle of Man.