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Unibet CEO Arrested

Discussion in 'Casino Industry Discussion' started by james01, Oct 23, 2007.

    Oct 23, 2007
  1. james01

    james01 Dormant account

    Source: gamingintelligencegroup.com

    Unibet CEO Arrested by Dutch Authorities Under French Warrant

    Petter Nylander, CEO of online gaming company Unibet, was detained yesterday by Dutch authorities after checking in to a flight to get back to his home in the UK.

    The background for this detention is the proceedings filed in 2006 by the French lottery monopoly Franaise des Jeux and horse betting monopoly PMU against Unibet, alleging breach of the French national laws from 1836 and 1891 protecting those State-owned monopolies.

    In a statement issued this morning, Unibet said it was outraged by France's total disregard of European Community law aiming to protect a domestic commercial gambling monopoly, which is being challenged by the European Commission. However disturbing the French authorities' methods are, for Unibet it is business as usual.

    While the company was aware of the possibility of this action by the French authorities, the timing of it is very surprising. In March 2007, the European Court of Justice ruled in the Placanica case, confirming that betting services are covered by the EU Treaty. The Court also confirmed that criminal proceedings brought against legitimate operators based in other EU member states are in contradiction with the EU Treaty.

    On 27 June, the EU Commission issued a reasoned opinion against France in relation with the infringement proceedings concerning France's restrictions on sports betting. Furthermore, on 10 July, the highest jurisdiction in France overturned a decision that banned a Maltese company from offering online betting on horse races in France. Finally, the French government has stated its will to open a discussion with the European Commission towards a regulated opening of the French online gaming market.

    Unibet's CFO and Deputy CEO Ragnar Hellenius has been appointed by the Board of Unibet as acting CEO until Mr. Nylander is released.

    Mr. Hellenius said of the arrest, "This situation is clearly unacceptable and extraordinary in ours and in any industry. It is our view that this use of the possibility for cross-border legal actions is a clear abuse of their true aim, and in all aspects, disproportionate. Unibet is licensed in the UK, Malta and Italy for gambling, listed on the OMX Nordic Stock Exchange and a company complying with European law.

    This is clearly a breach of the EU Treaty and the fundamental principles of the European Union. We are upset of this unlawful act and harassment against our company and a citizen of Europe and we will take every action possible to bring this matter to justice. This criminalisation of a specific individual is a tactic that we have seen French authorities using before and something we will not tolerate. We take for granted that Petter Nylander will be released immediately."
    7 people like this.
  2. Oct 23, 2007
  3. Casinomeister

    Casinomeister Forum Cheermeister Staff Member

    This makes the French look like a bunch of cry babies.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Oct 23, 2007
  5. ternur

    ternur A damn fine cup of coffee CAG webby mm3

    This is pretty sick, the French government has clearly lost the plot.
  6. Oct 23, 2007
  7. satchmo

    satchmo Dormant account

    All and nothing for Play'n Go
    Dont be afraid boys, the frenchies have never won a war yet, so just wait :)
    They tend to be there in the start only, but often they pull out, or call for help, when help arrives they leave...
    You must register/login in order to see the link.
    You must register/login in order to see the link.

    Satchmo the man the myth the working class historian....

    Ohh btw when i did the quis i became the black knight..
    3 people like this.
  8. Oct 23, 2007
  9. maaster

    maaster Experienced Member webmeister

    utrecht, netherlands
    well it def. stirs up the online casino/poker debate we have in the netherlands, lets hope for the best. :eek2:

    Unibet was already forced to stop its activities by law (thanks to the Lotto organization which has a monopoly on gambling here in the netherlands) By 1 october 2007 they have to pay 300k Euros a day (to a max of 3 million Eur) for every day they continue their operations for the dutch..

    I wish The Lotto much luck by getting that money hehe :) NOT

    little offtopic:
    Also check the link that Holland Casino is choosing Cryptologic software for their online experiment:

    You must register/login in order to see the link.
  10. Oct 23, 2007
  11. jetset

    jetset RIP Brian CAG

    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service


    French gaming monopoly law is not in line with EU legislation.

    The European Commission, which oversees compliance with the European Union trade and services treaty, stepped into the row over the arrest of Unibet CEO Petter Nylander today (Tuesday) commenting that the detained online gambling executive may be innocent of wrongdoing.

    Commission spokesman Oliver Drewes told reporters: "It could very well be that somebody has been arrested who is innocent."

    Nylander, an outspoken critic of EU state monopolies in gambling, was detained yesterday at Schipol airport by Dutch authorities under a European arrest warrant issued by French authorities for alleged offences in 2006 (see previous InfoPowa reports).

    But Drewes said French gaming monopoly law is not in line with EU legislation. "There was an earlier French arrest based on the French legislation in place and that was therefore invoked by the Dutch border police," he said.

    France has until the end of October to conform with EU gaming monopoly legislation, he said, adding that he is "...quite confident that we can work this out" without taking legal action.

    The Nylander arrest relates to proceedings filed in 2006 by the French state-owned gambling monopoly companies, Francaise des Jeux and PMU against Unibet, alleging breach of French laws dating from 1836 and 1891 and protecting state-owned monopolies.
  12. Oct 24, 2007
  13. Mousey

    Mousey Ueber Meister Mouse

    Pencil Pusher
    You must register/login in order to see the link. on gambling arrest
    By Andrew Bounds in Strasbourg, David Ibison in Stockholm and Ben Hall in Paris

    Published: October 23 2007 22:01 | Last updated: October 23 2007 22:01

    The French government on Tuesday distanced itself from the high profile arrest of an internet gambling executive and ordered the case against him to be dropped.

    Petter Nylander, chief executive of Unibet, was detained on Monday at Amsterdams Schiphol airport on a European arrest warrant issued by a French judge on charges of money laundering and cybercrime.

    The arrest was triggered by a commercial complaint by Franaise des Jeux, which runs the lottery, and PMU, the national horseracing board, who claimed that Unibet had breached their monopoly rights to internet gambling in France.

    The French government appeared embarrassed by the arrest, which comes as Paris prepares to concede that it has discriminated illegally against online operators to protect its state monopolies.

    It is not a matter between the state and Unibet, said a spokeswoman for the budget ministry...
  14. Oct 24, 2007
  15. jetset

    jetset RIP Brian CAG

    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service

    Embarrassing pull back after international outcry

    The French government, in the midst of working toward a reasonable rapprochement with the European Commission over its monopolistic policy on online gambling, has been placed in the embarrassing position of having to distance itself from the arrest Monday of Unibet CEO Petter Nylander (see previous InfoPowa reports)

    The arrest, by Dutch officials on a European warrant issued by a French judge exploiting 19th century protectionist laws, sparked an international outcry and a warning from the European Commission.

    The Financial Times reported late Tuesday that the French government had ordered the case against Nylander to be dropped - but it was not before a series of connected events unfolded.

    Nylander was due to appear before a judge in a closed hearing as the Amsterdam prosecutors office sought to extend his detention, although a European Commission source said: Instructions were given to drop the proceedings, after a spokesman diplomatically criticised the arrest by implying that Nylander was innocent of wrongdoing.

    Official spokesman Oliver Drewes had earlier reiterated the Commissions contention that French gambling laws were out of line with EU rules. In our view, somebody might have been arrested who is innocent under [EU] law, he said.

    But at that point Frances European Affairs Minister, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, insisted the move was perfectly consistent with the internal market as "no internal market for gambling existed."

    The basis of the arrest was the proceedings issued last year against Unibet by Franaise des Jeux, the French lottery monopoly, and PMU, the monopoly that governs betting on horses. These organisations claimed that Unibet was in breach of national laws passed in 1836 and 1891 protecting state-owned monopolies.

    Later, the French government appeared embarrassed by the arrest, which comes as Paris seeks a compromise deal that will position it in compliance with EU principles.

    "It is not a matter between the state and Unibet," said a spokeswoman for the French budget ministry. Franaise des Jeux and PMU will be told to drop their complaint.

    The FT reports that Nylanders arrest was criticised by Unibet, the European Commission and Swedish politicians, who all argued that Unibets operations were legal under EU law.

    Christofer Fjellner, a Swedish member of the European parliament, said: A worrying fact is that the European arrest warrant, an instrument put in place to combat terrorism and organised crime, is now used by the French government to punish those who fight French protectionism.

    What will be the next sector to be threatened with French arrests? The French are turning the European arrest warrant into a political tool.

    A spokeswoman for Unibet said the arrest was a surprise and lawyers were working for Nylander's freedom. They should release him immediately, she said.

    Charlie McCreevy, the internal market commissioner for the EC who has repeatedly clashed with France on the gambling issue, denounced the arrest. They may have arrested an innocent man, his spokesman said.

    McCreevy began legal action against France over the summer after the organisers of the Tour de France cycle race, sponsored by FdJ, prevented the Unibet team from taking part in the French legs. Eric Woerth, the French budget minister, is due to discuss the opening up of the French online gambling market with Mr McCreevy on November 6.

    Jean-Pierre Jouyet, the French Europe minister, told reporters in Strasbourg it was ready to open the market to all who met certain conditions: We are ready to find a new framework for gambling if conditions are respected. Those wanting a licence would have to satisfy criteria on preventing addiction and money laundering.

    Unibet has been a vociferous opponent of European state monopolies, which it claims usurp European Union principles of free trade and services. The Stockholm-listed company became one of the highest-profile internet betting firms in France after its cycling team, which sports the firms logo on its shirts, was banned from this years Tour de France. Unibet has been threatening to sue the organisers over the ban.

    In a statement shortly after Nylander's arrest, Unibet said it was outraged by Frances total disregard of EU law, pointing out that in July Frances highest court had itself overturned a decision banning a Maltese operator from offering online betting on French racing. Its deputy chief executive, Ragnar Hellenius, said: We are upset at this unlawful act and harrassment against our company.

    Earlier this year, John Anderson, then chief executive of online gambling firm 888 Holdings, voluntarily attended an interview with the French authorities, while Patrick Partouche, head of the French casino operator Groupe Partouche, was fined and handed a suspended sentence for lending his name to an offshore poker website.

    Austrian executives from the Vienna-listed online gambling group Bwin were detained last year by French authorities for advertising its product via a football sponsorship.
  16. Oct 24, 2007
  17. jetset

    jetset RIP Brian CAG

    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service


    Awaiting transfer to France and hopefully a withdrawal of charges

    Hopes that Petter Nylander, the CEO of Unibet detained at Schipol airport on a European warrant signed by a French judge (see previous InfoPowa reports) would be released following an international outcry faded today as arrangements went ahead for his transfer to France.

    Earlier, statements by French spokesmen that the charges laid against him by French gambling monopolies for contravening 19th century laws should be withdrawn gave hope that the executive would be released immediately, but this has not transpired.

    Instead, Nylander has been released from the airport holding facility to an Amsterdam hotel, where he has been able to consult with lawyers and speak with management at his company.

    Ragnar Hellenius, chief financial officer and deputy CEO said: I am very pleased to confirm that I have spoken to Petter over the phone. He is now together with our lawyers at a hotel in Amsterdam. Under the circumstances, we had of course wanted this process to be faster and that Petter had been transferred to Paris immediately. We take for granted that when Petter finally is on French soil, the judge will release him very soon without charge. Petter is obviously very tired and the detention has not been pleasant. He is still in the good mood and wants to be released in order for him to join his family.

    Nylander lives in the UK, and was detained as he boarded a flight home from Amsterdam on Monday.

    Ewout Keelers, legal counsel at Unibet, said Nylander's arrest was a political act. "To use an arrest warrant to protect a gambling monopoly is way beyond that which could be viewed as acceptable," he said.

    Nylanders lawyer Dominique Santacru said the arrest had its real roots in a request the French government made to speak to him about the companys activities in the French market earlier this year.

    In response, Nylander had suggested that such a hearing should be held in the UK as he did not want to be placed under arrest, a fate that had befallen former Unibet deputy chief executive Didier Dewyn in April of this year. The European arrest warrant was then issued by a judge in the Paris suburb of Nanterre as a result of Nylanders 'refusal' to attend the hearing.
    1 person likes this.
  18. Oct 25, 2007
  19. jetset

    jetset RIP Brian CAG

    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service


    "We just want this circus to end as soon as possible," says online gambling CEO's lawyer

    After a brief appearance in the Amsterdam District Court Wednesday afternoon, during which his legal team told an extradition hearing they would not fight his transfer to France on a warrant of arrest issued in June this year at the behest of French gambling monopolies, Unibet CEO Petter Nylander was released to the more comfortable surroundings of a local hotel after agreeing to remain in the Netherlands.

    Nylander had earlier in the week been detained at Schipol airport on a warrant based on 19th century French protectionist laws, creating an international furore that included criticism from the European Commission.

    It is understood that Petter will travel to France on Monday to face the judge who issued the warrant, which has caused some red faces in a French government currently trying to negotiate a rapprochement on Internet gambling with EU officials. The Budget Ministry said that it regretted the timing of Nylanders arrest and hoped that the FDJ and the PMU would drop the complaints that started the case against his firm.

    Speaking outside the court, Nylander's Belgian lawyer Ewout Keuleers told Associated Press: "We just want this circus to end as soon as possible." He added: "It is disproportionate to try to enforce a criminal case against Mr. Nylander."

    Reporting on the case, The Times Online claimed that thousands of French residents are defying the law to place bets online with companies outside France. The French casino industry also wants an end to the bar on its entry to online gaming, and the French government has taken a more conciliatory approach recently with European Commission officials, who want to see a more liberal attitude toward other EU member states involved in Internet gambling..

    It described Nylanders arrest as the boldest action in a rearguard campaign to save two monopolies created in the 19th century, the Franaise des Jeux (FDJ), which runs lotteries, and the PMU horse-racing board.The two organisations account for half the annual Euro 20 billion turnover from betting in France, with state-licensed casinos taking the rest. These pay 60 percent of their earnings to the French treasury.

    Unibet is registered in Malta, operated from Britain and listed on the Stockholm stock exchange. It claims to have 1.8 million customers in 150 countries. Company spokesmen said that it was outraged by Frances disregard for EU law. And Nylander, who lives in London, told reporters that he would not stop offering his companys services in France.

    We are doing nothing illegal because we have a licence for Britain, he told Dutch newspapers. According to the European rules, if you have a licence for one member state, you are authorised to use it in the others.

    Dominique Santacru, Nylanders French lawyer, said that the arrest was indefensible. Mr Nylander is the head of a registered business . . . and he is arrested like a common thief, he said.
  20. Oct 25, 2007
  21. satchmo

    satchmo Dormant account

    All and nothing for Play'n Go
    Source e24.se

    The european arrest order that France used to get Petter Nylander arrested, was founded shortly after the 9-11 incident. The European nations
    purpose with the new law, was to fight terroism, and heavy criminality.
    Swedens Statsminister (Primeminister, president, dictator, call him what you want, but i wont like him anyway). was involved in the making of the arresting order taking form. That it was used in the way it was against Petter, wasnt obvious at the moment, Fredrick Reinfeldt says.

    Of course the Swedish goverment is following the this, but explains also that the juridical proccess must have it's ordinary walkabout.

    See it's not only the Us president who is trying to rule the world, and having an iq way below the average.

    Satchmo the man the myth the working class hero....
    Frakk im really tired, for some reason....
  22. Oct 29, 2007
  23. jetset

    jetset RIP Brian CAG

    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service


    Nylander remains confined to Holland but not in detention

    Hopes that Petter Nylander, the CEO of Unibet arrested on a French European warrant at Schipol Airport last week, would be able to travel to France and secure his release immediately after the weekend have been dashed by the news that he will now not appear before the French judge who issued the warrant until Wednesday.

    Meanwhile, the French gambling monopoly Franaise des Jeux says Nylander was arrested for refusing to attend an interview requested by French authorities to question him regarding charges laid last year under a 19th century protectionist law by FDJ.

    In a statement issued late last week, Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) said the arrest of Unibet chief executive Petter Nylander came as a result of his refusal to attend an interview request by the French authorities.

    Ragnar Hellenius, the acting CEO of Unibet, says that Nylander will be transferred to Paris on Wednesday. This is a very complicated legal process and we will of course follow the instructions from the authorities," Hellenius added. "We take for granted that when Petter is finally on French soil on Wednesday, the judge will release him. For us, Petters release is most important and we are working with the authorities to facilitate this process.

    His comment follows statements from French government officials last week that FDJ would be asked to drop the charges.

    France is also expected to submit its regulatory proposals on online gaming to the European Commission by Wednesday, which will be considered to determine whether these are proportionate and non-discriminatory and comply with European Union trade regulations.

    The French monopoly claimed in its statement that had Nylander presented himself when he was asked to, of course the judge would not have issued an arrest warrant against him. FDJ spokesmen explained that ....once it is engaged, the public prosecution against Unibet is no longer dependent on the complainant.
    1 person likes this.
  24. Oct 31, 2007
  25. jetset

    jetset RIP Brian CAG

    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service


    French gaming monopoly hypocritical in explaining its involvement in Nylander arrest

    With Unibet CEO Petter Nylander due to appear before a French judge today (Wednesday) following his arrest at Schipol airport last week, an official of the online gambling company came out with guns blazing against the actions of French gambling monopoly Francaise des Jeux, which instigated the circumstances leading to Nylander's arrest.

    Western Europe manager for Unibet, Christophe Dhaisne, said that Francaise des Jeux has acted in a hypocritical manner in the issue.

    Dhaisne was responding to a statement late last week from FdJ (see previous InfoPowa report) that the arrest of Petter Nylander was the result of the Unibet chief executives refusal to attend the original interview request made by the French authorities.

    Dhaisne said: The statement by Francaise des Jeux smacks of hypocrisy and is a public relations exercise. To claim that it is somehow the helpless victim of everything that has happened when it has been enforcing its monopoly status in France is the height of hypocrisy to say the least.

    The FdJ could not shed its responsibility for the part it played in Nylanders arrest, because the complaint it made against Mr Bookmaker in 2003 is at the root of the Nylander arrest warrant, issued by a French judge, the Unibet manager added.

    The complaint comes from FdJ and [fellow monopolist] PMU and in the meantime Petter is the one who has had to spend two nights in detention," Dhaisne said. "The timing of the arrest is not good and has created political waves. From what we are hearing and in the current political context, Petter should be released once he has appeared before the judge, but of course you never know so we will have to wait to be sure.

    French government officials are currently trying to placate the European Commission by negotiating concessions in what was formerly a hard line and monopolistic approach to gambling in the country. The complaint against Mr. Bookmaker was based on 19th century protectionist French laws.
  26. Nov 1, 2007
  27. jetset

    jetset RIP Brian CAG

    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service


    Nylander freed on Euro 200 000 - may have to return for further examination

    Petter Nylander, the CEO of online gambling group Unibet detained at Schipol airport last week on a French-inspired European arrest warrant is free - but he may be called back to France for further investigations, and it is at the cost of Euro 200 000 bail.

    Nylander was transported from Holland to Nanterre in France after telling the Dutch authorities he had no problem with the extradition. He was subsequently released on bail after a late evening appearance before a French judge, and after being informed that he may be required to return to France to face charges of illegal gambling operations and advertising under French protectionist laws. If convicted, the penalty could be three years jail time.

    Back in London, Nylander told reporters: "In the coming weeks and months there will be more questions from the French," adding the firm had no indication how long the whole process would take or whether it would go to court.

    "At first I thought it was a bad joke or a bachelor party or whatever so I was laughing and trying to crack some jokes with the policeman but he didn't really laugh," said Nylander, who lives in Britain.

    "Then I said okay this is serious and they said you are going to be taken to France and showed me papers that said 2 or 3 years in prison and I thought, this like a very bad movie."

    Nylander said the firm would continue to take bets from French punters despite the troubles and did not expect the issues to put off gamblers.

    Unibet's legal council Ewout Keuleers said the firm would "probably" appeal the validity of the investigation, employing tactics used by Austrian-listed rival Bwin which is facing similar charges. "Once our French lawyers have seen the case and we have put together a framework for our defence then we will decide for sure," said Keuleers.

    The French judge who issued the warrant was acting on a complaint by French lottery monopoly Francaise des Jeux and horserace-betting monopoly PMU that Unibet breached 19th-century laws protecting state-owned monopolies (see previous InfoPowa reports).

    Nylander's detention drew criticism from the European Commission, which is putting pressure on France to liberalise its tightly controlled betting market.

    In a statement issued by Unibet, Nylander subsequently said: Unibet, the company that I run, has always abided by the law. We are transparent and we promote the concept of responsible gaming.

    "Our company is European; we are listed on the OMX Nordic Exchange, and audited on a regular basis. The fact that there are numerous legal proceedings ongoing against responsible operators such as Unibet doesnt make sense at a time when the French government has publicly referred to the opening of its online gaming market.

    "Such proceedings serve only one purpose - the commercial interests of Frances two State-owned monopolies. There is an urgent need for reform of this market where these monopoly operators actions are in complete disregard of EU Treaties and the interests of French players.

    "It is Unibets strong belief that the French consumer should have a choice regarding online betting and gaming, with specific regulation. France has everything to gain from the controlled opening of its market, and La Franaise des Jeux, the PMU and French casino operators alike have an opportunity to be co-leaders together with private operators in the European online gaming market.
  28. Nov 2, 2007
  29. jetset

    jetset RIP Brian CAG

    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service


    Laws under which he is being investigated for illegal activities are "obsolete," says newly released Unibet exec

    Out on Euro 200 000 bail after a late evening appearance before a French judge on illegal gambling and advertising charges (see previous InfoPowa reports) Unibet CEO Petter Nylander wasted no time in slamming the actions of French gambling monopolies Francaise des Jeux and PMU in instigating his arrest last week at a Dutch airport....and in criticising the French laws involved.

    Nylander called for an end to the French state's gaming monopoly, attacking the laws under which he is being investigated for illegal activities as "obsolete."

    Speaking in London where he lives, the 43-year-old Swede said the case against him and Unibet was harassment and indicative of anti-competitive protectionism on the part of France's state-owned gambling firms.

    "The laws that are used against me in France are from 1836 and 1891 ... before the European Union was created, before the Internet was created," he told a news conference. "Those national laws are obsolete. In the last 20 years, we've seen several European monopolies being transformed from strict tough state monopolies to open competition.

    "You can take the airline industry, the broadcast industry, telecom sector, to the benefit of the European consumers. This is just another monopoly going down, painfully.

    "However, I'm not aware of a monopoly going down throwing competitors into prison. We need to stop this harrassment of companies.

    "We need to create a modern form of a gaming industry, to find a way for responsible companies like Unibet and others to work and be non discriminated compared to state companies in Europe."

    The online gambling executive insisted French law did not apply to Unibet.

    "We have no office in France, people use the Internet. How can it be illegal?" he said.

    French monopoly laws date from the 19th century and protect French gambling operators Francaise des Jeux and horse-racing betting group PMU.

    Unibet is registered in Malta, operated out of Britain and listed on the Stockholm stock exchange. It claims to have 1.8 million customers in 150 countries.

    In French law, being placed under judicial investigation is one step short of being formally charged and does not necessarily mean Nylander is heading for trial, although he has been warned that he may have to return to France for further investigation....and there's that Euro 200 000 bail.....

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