Former CEO claims in media interview that he is suing Dutch government for Euro 75 million
The 2013 shutdown of Sheriff Gaming and its parent company Bubble Group by Dutch tax and police officials resurfaced this week in an interview with former CEO Stijn Flapper (38) with the Dutch newspaper Financieele Dagblad.
In the interview Flapper revealed that he is currently suing the Dutch government for Euro 75 million over the shuttering, which he alleges is an illegal prosecution, and personal allegations of dishonesty and drugs involvement which he says were made against him by Dutch enforcement authorities.
Flapper also claimed that he was illegally arrested and detained in the government's actions against Bubble Group, which he owned in partnership with the Gregoire brothers Michel and Maurice.
The joint police and tax office prosecution against the company alleges offences involving illegal online gambling, forgery, involvement in a criminal organisation, money laundering and tax evasion, and has been stalled since late last year as legal arguments rage over the admissibility of elements of the documentary evidence.
In his interview Flapper reiterated that he had not committed any crime and that he could produce a January 2013 communication from the Dutch regulator Kansspelautoriteit to one of the Bubble Group subsidiaries which assured that the regulator would not pursue online gambling sites that did not offer promos in Dutch, have a Dutch domain, or advertise services to Dutch players.
The Bubble group had always operated within those parameters, he claimed.
Flapper also alleged:
* That the Dutch government has tolerated the activities of "dozens" of other online gambling operators;
* That the prosecution against his company was being pursued despite the fact that for several years the Dutch government has been actively moving toward an online gambling legalisation and licensing regime which will probably be implemented this year;
* That Dutch authorities had made "false and malicious" press statements in the course of the action against Bubble alleging that there was a drug trafficking element, and that these were not true, and had not been included in the formal charges so far filed;
* That the enforcement action scuppered a Euro 41.5 million deal with an unnamed party who wanted to buy a 49 percent stake in the Bubble Group but withdrew from the negotiations following the allegedly illegal prosecution by the Dutch authorities.
Flapper says his legal suit against the government is for "minimal" damages only and does not take into account the potential earnings of a successful business had it not been disrupted by the Dutch enforcement action.
Approached for a reaction to the Flapper interview, the Dutch authorities remained unrepentant and scornful, asserting that Bubble's illegal online gambling enterprises had been siphoning money from the Dutch economy "with forged documents" and had evaded Dutch taxes to the tune of Euro 13.5 million (a default judgement by a Dutch court that Flapper and his partners are contesting).
The authorities added fuel to the judicial fire by further claiming that former Sheriff Gaming employees have alleged that there were software irregularities in the company's jackpot products and that the owners had not responded to these allegations in their lawsuit.
Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa