Italian ‘King Of Slots’ arrested on money laundering and tax evasion charges

Francesco Corallo, a Sicilian nicknamed the Italian ‘King Of Slots’ has been arrested in the Netherlands Antilles on charges of tax evasion and money laundering.

Corallo was among five people brought to book on the island of Sint Maarten on Tuesday 13th December.

Among the others arrested were the Dutch national Rudolf Baetsen and erstwhile Italian legislator Amedeo Laboccetta. The arrests were made by the local police authority on behalf of Italian investigators.


The Man from Atlantis

Franceso Corallo (above, centre) is something of a big deal in the Caribbean, what with his Atlantis World Group operating casinos in Sint Maarten, Curacao and the Dominican Republic. He also controls B Plus Gaming/Global Starnet Ltd in his homeland.

B Plus received its Italian gaming licence in 2004 and operates video lottery terminals and a variety of online gambling sites. Under its new guise of Global Starnet Ltd, it presently accounts for almost a third of all Italy’s VLTs.

According to the Italian legal authorities, between 2004 and 2014, Corallo and his associates hid a sum in the region of 250 euros using British and Dutch banks to transfer the money to his Caribbean companies.

In the wake of Corallo’s arrest, Global Starnet issued a statement stressing that the company has “always operated within the rules” and had paid taxes as and when required to do so.


The Corallos – The Italian ‘Family’ Way

Franceso Corallo isn’t the first member of his family to have trouble with the law. His father Gaetano was convicted in the 1980s over his dealings with an Italian casino, only to then go on the run. Upon finally turning himself in, the elder Corallo left the Caribbean wing of the business to Francesco. Upon his eventual release from jail, Gaetano then proceeded to sue his son for $20 million in casino revenues that he believes are due to him.

As for Franceso, the police have been interested in him since 2012 when B Plus used suspicious bank loans to buy their VLT licenses. If they now appear to have the ‘King Of Slots’ banged to rights it might have something to do with Corallo’s name appearing in the Panama Papers, the infamous documents that exposed the wheeling and dealing of the world’s mega-monied people.

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Nigel Frith