The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has requested all records and documentation related to jackpots paid out by the Oracle Casino, Lovin Malta is informed.
The casino, part of the Tumas Group’s gaming empire, was at the centre of the police’s money laundering case against Yorgen Fenech, the businessman indicted for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Sources who spoke with Lovin Malta said that the MGA had requested all records held by the casino, starting from 1st January 2019.
Oracle Casino is owned and operated by Tumas Gaming, a subsidiary of the Tumas Group, and is licensed by the MGA.
In comments to Lovin Malta, the MGA confirmed that it had requested that “all slot machines within the Tumas Group casinos be recertified as being compliant with the requisite technical standards”.
“The certification will be done by an independent third-party provider and will be engaged by the MGA. It is our priority to ensure that the games provided via the machines are fair to players who seek to make use of them and that no gaming device is used for any illicit purposes,” the MGA said.
On Tuesday, a court decreed that there was enough evidence for Fenech to stand trial for money laundering after it had heard the prosecution detail plans by Fenech and his associates to launder money through the Oracle Casino in Qawra.
A number of exchanges between Fenech, Tumas Gaming COO Patrick Demanuele as well as Nicholas Cachia, all of whom were charged with money laundering, were read out in court.
In one exchange Fenech asked Demanuele “how much money was laundered”. Other exchanges revealed maneuvers by Fenech and his associates for jackpots to be paid out to different individuals, in breach of gaming regulations.
In light of the testimony, the MGA said it had withdrawn Demanuele’s authorisation to hold any key function within any company licensed by the MGA>
Earlier this week, Manuel Delia reported that following the court testimony, slot machines supplier Novomatic had informed the Tumas Group that it would be pausing its services to its casinos, including the services of slot machines currently being used by the casinos.
In a reply to questions from Lovin Malta, the company said it could not comment on any of their business relationships and customer relations due to confidentiality obligations.
“However, it’s our general policy to evaluate and/or conduct due diligence measures and compliance checks on a regular basis in order to fulfill all legal and regulatory obligations,” Novomatic said.
Tumas Group disassociates itself from Yorgen Fenech
In a statement issued this afternoon, the Tumas Group disassociated itself from Yorgen Fenech while expressing its disappointment at his alleged actions.
It noted that Demanuele had offered his resignation from the group, while Anthony Farrugia, who was also charged alongside Fenech had ceased his employment with the group on 31st March 2020.
Referring to a bonus account of €26,000 which was mentioned in court this week, the group said “the bonus award had been picked up by the casino’s compliance systems, and the bonus account was immediately frozen and rendered inoperative”.
It added that the company Glimmer, which is at the centre of the money laundering case against Fenech, had been discontinued and its gaming license “voluntarily surrendered” in October 2019, shortly before Fenech’s arrest.
The group also said that it had contacted the MGA with a view to conducting “independent inquiries to evaluate the controls enforced within these casinos”.
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