“Legal Gambling” the Italian Way: Who is the “Mafia”

Ten officials of the AAMS of Palermo have been investigated by the DIA with charges of corruption compounded by Mafia association in exchange for privileges in the granting of licenses for some gaming houses.

Giuseppe Pisanu, president of the Antimafia Commission commented:

“When we suggest a two-year financial package of 38 billion euro, public opinion starts to fibrillate, but when we show that only on gaming, criminal organizations pocket at least 50 billion euro a year, no one seems to care.”

Fine words. But who is Pisanu talking about? Some Palermo organization that has made money on gambling casinos in the city suburbs or the Atlantis World Group of the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, principal concessionaire on the entire Italian territory.

The group that has absconded with billions of euro of the Italian people from legal slot machines; the affair is run from Rome and leads to Gianfranco Fini, president of the House, the third most important position of the central government, and to his trusted henchman Amedeo Laboccetta?

An Italic Misunderstanding

Milena Gabanelli

Milena Gabanelli, hostess of the TV inquiry program “Report”

Maybe someone is trying to aim the spotlights on marginal criminal activity to draw public attention from real organized crime, recently denounced and amply documented also in the popular Italian television program REPORT (See the Video) that described the incredible granting of licenses for legal slot machines. They were handed out on the entire national territory by the AAMS to mysterious off-shore companies allegedly tied to our respectable political personages. It is an affair worth billions of euro in unpaid taxes on betting with the incriminated machines, which no one is interested in looking for. So, today our justice system moves at the level of minor local affairs, pocket money compared to the theft of billions of euro that the DIA seems to have no interest in.

Back in 2006, Italian Judge John Henry Woodcock, instead of dedicating his efforts to those who were taking out of the country billions of euro of the State, arrested Vittorio Emanuele Di Savoia, charging him with being part of a criminal organization that had allegedly corrupted the AAMS, paying 20,000 euro to speed up the authorization for slot machines of the Casino of Campione d’Italia; this fake “Mani Pulite” of gambling filled the front pages of Italian newspapers for months.

Roberto Saviano, Gianfranco Fini

Roberto Saviano, Gianfranco Fini

Today the crime-fighting Vulgate of the «Debenedettiano»*, Roberto Saviano, is actively contributing to keep the attention of the public opinion focused on phenomena of local, low-profile criminality, preventing this country of birdbrains called Italy from talking about the real criminals, the ones that have been taking billions of Italian euro out of the country with their banks, gasoline, cigarettes and “legal” gambling.

* Carlo Debenedetti, publisher of the daily paper La Repubblica and of the weekly L’Espresso, represents the pole of political and financial interests, opposed to Berlusconi

The AAMS issued its standard notification, in which it assures “full collaboration with the investigation organs for the reconstruction of the facts and the ascertainment of the responsibilities,” placing itself at the service of the authorities and repeating that the AAMS is daily committed to the fight against all forms of illegality, that must be prosecuted at all times and in all places.”

The problem is that those who manifest their ritual trust in the efforts of the magistrates are the same persons who, on the Roman front, granted licenses to off-shore companies and set up the scam that gave away VAT to foreign companies worth 500 million euro; they are also the ones who do not raise the excise aliquots on cigarettes because they do not want to displease Philip Morris, and the ones who cling to the “minimum price,” adding to the profits of a cartel of cigarette manufacturers and giving away potential State revenue, and the ones who allow the three cigarette multinationals to elude Italian taxes and take abroad 2 billion euro every year.

The Palermo Episode

The DIA – The Anti-Mafia Investigation Department

The DIA—“Direzione Investigativa Antimafia”—the Anti-Mafia Investigation Department of Palermo arrested 10 people, including some managers of the AAMS, charged with corruption compounded by Mafia association

Among those arrested in the gambling “Clean Hands”—Mani Pulite—investigation, there was Nicola Andreozzi, ex-Director of the Agenzia dei Monopoli of Sicily; he currently holds the same position in the detached agency offices of Campania and Sardinia; there was also Salvatore Magno, vice-director of the Sicilian office of the Monopolies

According to the information that emerged from the investigations of the Court of Palermo, the suspected persons allegedly enjoyed luxurious vacations, escorts and sundry gifts; in exchange, they provided extravagant favors using public money. One of the arrested, Giovanni Polizzi, councilor for urban planning in a town of the Palermo area, stands out for having received kickbacks worth over 40 thousand euro.

The main “client” of the suspects, as reported in an inquiry of the economic daily newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore (that actively deals with the crumbs stolen in Palermo and is silent about the billions that disappear in Rome) was the businessman, Michele Spina, owner of Primal S.r.l., the company that runs gambling houses on the territory.

AAMS – Gioco sicuroPrimal S.r.l. had obtained the license to run 24 gambling houses and 71 SNAI Points (betting halls) in 2006, following five consistent offers, for a total of more that 10 million euro; the offers were presented in the contract bid for betting agencies and they enabled Primal to win everything.

The contract was subordinated to the presentation to the AAMS, within 15 days, of the receipt for the payments of the costs relative to the rights won. The law also says that if this deadline is not respected, the concession is not assigned. The list of the winners was published on December 28th 2006, and the Sole 24 Ore claims that in the following April, well after the expiration of the 15 days, the Monopoly underwrote and signed the agreement for the grant to Primal, even though payment had not been completed.

Subsequent to the pressure generated by the Sole 24 Ore’s investigation, some Primal sales points started closing without advance notice because of the forced detachment imposed by the AAMS for the delay in the payment of the quota underwritten in the contract.

At this point, seeing the snag, Primal paid what was due, late, settling also the penalty interest, for a total settlement of 12 million euro, but with no result.

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