David Gonzi brushes off European arrest warrant threat

PN deputy leader Mario de Marco among lawyers challenging MGA decision to suspend licences of Italian gaming companies

David Gonzi
David Gonzi

David Gonzi, the son of former prime minister Lawrence Gonzi, has shrugged off the possibility of being slapped with a European arrest warrant.

Last week, Gonzi was identified in Operation Gambling’s 750-page dossier as having been a one-third shareholder and director in GVM Holdings, a company that provides fiduciary services to gaming companies who have had their licences suspended by the Malta Gaming Authority.
This came after the Italian police busted the ‘Ndrangheta’s base in Malta from where companies had set up ran a network of remote gaming companies involved in money laundering.

In total 41 people were served with an arrest warrant, including six Italian nationals resident in Malta.

Asked whether he was aware of the possibility that he might also be deported to Italy if the Calabrian police issue a European arrest warrant, Gonzi said he was informed otherwise since he is not on the list of people under investigation.

Gonzi is one of the 128 persons of interest named in the 750-page dossier compiled by the Italian police but the lawyer insisted: “I am informed by my Italian counterparts that I am not formally investigated because I’m not accused of having breached any particular article.”

Adding that so far he has not been contacted by the Italian police, Gonzi reiterated: “I will be getting in touch with the Italian police in the very near future.”

The voluminous dossier points out that Gonzi was “located at the summit of the pyramid structure of the multinational companies of the area operating in the territory and with a Maltese licence... Pending further necessary investigation, it would be plausible to situate the subject right at the centre of an international criminal business triangulation network.”

However Gonzi denied any wrongdoing and insisted that the dossier was factually incorrect since it failed to recognise that GVM was a licensed fiduciary company.

He also admitted that since 2014 he provided legal services to one of the companies involved, Betsolution4u Ltd. “GVM has terminated all contracts with the companies involved,” Gonzi said, adding that he has also terminated the agreement he had with Betsolution4u Ltd.

“I provided legal services to Betsolution4u Ltd on a fixed arrangement in which I was paid at the normal hourly rate,” he said, without revealing how much the rate is

Companies challenge MGA suspension

Three Italian companies which have had their licences suspended by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) are challenging the decision taken by the regulator.

Following the crackdown by Italian police, the authority has suspended the licences of Uniq Group Limited (Betuniq), Betsolution4U Ltd, Soft Casino Limited, FenPlay and Softbet.

However, three of the companies – Uniq Group Limited (Betuniq), Betsolution4U Ltd and FenPlay – are challenging the decision and are holding MGA liable for any damage the companies will suffer as a consequence of the suspension.

FenPlay is represented by PN deputy leader Mario de Marco and Giannella de Marco, Uniq Group Limited is represented by Ian Refalo and Joe Giglio while Betsolution4U Ltd is represented by Roberto Montalto.

The lawyers of the three companies are arguing that since the Italian gaming authority has not suspended the companies’ licences there is no reason why the Malta gaming Authority should take such action.