On 4th April the GNR Tax Action Unit Oporto, carried out an operation following a criminal investigation “Show Down”, which aimed at dismantling an illegal network of sports betting.
The criminal network which was dismantled consisted in the provision, management, payment and collection of money related to sports bets, which were made through access to sites made available in commercial establishments.
In the course of this operation, in which 138 soldiers from the Fiscal Action Unit and the Intervention Unit were engaged, 41 searches were carried out in different locations in the districts of Porto, Braga and Viana do Castelo. Twenty of these were in commercial establishments made available for illegal gambling sites, five at companies involved in the operation of sports betting sites, fifteen to households and one to a warehouse that operated in support of the illicit activity.
At the same time, searches were also carried out in Austria and Germany, where the servers used to exploit the illicit game were located.
As a result of the searches carried out, the following seizures were made:
- 50 motor vehicles, estimated at one million two hundred thousand euros;
- Four motorcycles with a value of 31 thousand euros;
- 54 computer devices in the exploitation of illicit gambling and online sports betting (tablets, external disks, pen drives and printers)
- 36 computers;
- Seven gaming machines;
- 24 mobile phones;
- About four thousand euros in cash.
Real estate and bank accounts were also arrested in the amount of 292,000 euros.
In view of the transnational dimension of the illicit acts under investigation, this operation involved Europol’s assistance and operational support, which also provided an analyst to follow up the proceedings in Portugal and, in the context of the coordination of judicial cooperation, the intervention of EUROJUST.
In this operation nine individuals were arrested and 21 defendants were constituted, and nine notices were drawn up for illegal exploitation of sports betting and games of chance.
The detainees are being present at the Criminal Investigation Court of Porto, for the application of pre-trial measures, being indicted for illicit exploitation of online gambling, criminal association and tax fraud.