The Italian crime organization choose the Mediterranean state to invest in new businesses
di Vittorio Malagutti, Gloria Riva, Giovanni Tizian, Stefano Vergine
A stroke of good luck. A case of fate that would potentially allow to track down the treasure trove of Gomorra, that is the money the Casalesi clan piled up in years and years of criminal activity. The year is 2005. Nicola Schiavone, the son of notorious boss Sandokan, drops his wallet on a street. The Carabinieri del Ros, an Italian enforcement branch collect it, and find between a banknotes and a receipt a business card featuring the name of Bruno Tucci. Tucci is an Italian entrepreneur with a base in Malta. The investigators tap him. Listening to his calls on tape they get to the conclusion that Tucci might be one of the entrepreneurs through whom the Casal di Principe clan intends to launder its Malta money stockpile.
Setting up night clubs, restaurants, gaming companies: this is the idea of the Casalesi clan according to the investigating officials. They promptly send a rogatory to authorities in La Valletta. They plan to follow the money, and stop laundering operations before they even onset. Alas, La Valletta delays an answer, and when it finally gets to the Italian investigators it is not exhaustive. That results in totally losing track of the money Gomorra is believed to have hoarded and hidden in Malta. That was until now. The documents L’Espresso obtained will allow now to retrace and follow Tucci’s lead. A resident in Malta, Tucci is a shareholder in two companies on the Island: MBT Services Limited, incorporated in 1996, and Genergia Ltd, incorporated in 2010. None of the two ever filed a balance sheet. There is no way, therefore, to get an idea of the assets and business operations of the two companies. Our outlet reached out to Tucci, but he did not provide any information. The only certainty is that both companies are still operating.
This is just one of the dozens of stories concerning Mafia that L’Espresso gathered when going through the secret list of Italians who set up companies in the former British colony. Malta is a new Panama in the heart of the Mediterranean. A sort of “Grown Close to Home” tax haven, where tons of money from rackets, extortion and drug trafficking can be laundered. There is no need to go through customs or board planes. It takes just a two hours boat ride from Pozzallo or Portopalo di Capo Passero to reach its coasts. A briefcase stashed with cash, or often even just a wire transfer, and money launderers are set: millions of dirty euros can be reinvested in the legal economy. Once laundered, that money can even yield a profit and at very low taxes, sometimes even none at all. And more than anything else, it is a secure system, because Malta is a member country of the European Union, the currency of which is the euro, and no one checks on you if you are arriving from Italy. There is no need for reinventing stratagems: not too zealous local authorities will suffice. Considering how things went so far, someone in La Valletta must have closed more than one eye on the origin of the money that in recent years landed on the Island.