Paradise Bet UK Licence Suspended on Mafia Link

21st December 2009 8:52 am GMT

Following the break-up of a major mafia clan by police in the southern Puglia region of Italy earlier this month, the UK Gambling Commission has confirmed that the licence of online betting site Paradise Bet has been suspended while a review of the business is undertaken.

As part of a three-year crackdown on organised crime, Italian police issued 83 arrest warrants in the city of Bari, arresting 74 people and seizing approximately €220 million in assets including businesses, land, race horses and London-based online betting company Paradise Bet.

The head of the clan, Savino Parisi, was arrested along with his closest associates, accused of a number of serious crimes including money laundering, attempted murder, drug trafficiking, loan-sharking and interfering with the bidding process for public contracts. A number of local politicians and businessmen were also implicated for collaborating with the clan.

On Friday the UK Gambling Commission confirmed that it had commenced a review under Section 116 of the Gambling Act 2005, and decided to suspend Operating Licence No 3371 (Paradise Bet Ltd) while the review takes place.

Under Section 116 (2) (c), the Commission "may review any matter connected with the provision of facilities for gambling as authorised by an operating licence if the Commission for any reason suspects that the licensee may be unsuitable to carry on the licensed activities or thinks that a review would be appropriate."

The Commission stated that the suspension is an interim measure, which will be kept under review as part of an ongoing investigation. The Commission said it will make no further comment until the investigation is complete.

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