Charges laid in major U.S. online sports betting probe
Washington - July 11, 2006
Federal officials have charged 11 people, including the chief
executive of a big gambling website, with conspiracy, racketeering
and fraud for taking sports bets from U.S. residents.
The U.S. Justice Department said Monday it is seeking the forfeiture
of $4.5 billion US, cars and computers from the defendants, including
BetOnSports PLC and three other companies.
BetOnSports chief executive David Carruthers and four others were
arrested over the weekend.
The 22-count indictment was unsealed Monday in St. Louis, where
a federal judge also ordered BetOnSports to stop accepting bets
placed within the U.S.
Several defendants live outside the U.S., which will make them
hard to catch, U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway said in St. Louis.
"This is a tough crime to prosecute," she said.
Among those who live abroad is Gary Stephen Kaplan, founder of
BetOnSports, which is incorporated in the U.K. and listed on the
London Stock Exchange.
Trading of the company's shares was suspended in London yesterday.
Shares of BetOnSports fell as much as 24 per cent Monday on news
of Carruthers's arrest, but they recovered to close 17 per cent
lower at 122.5 pence ($2.24).
In the financial year ending Feb. 5, BetOnSports reported a 65
per cent gain in operating profit on continuing operations, to $20.1
million. The company said it handled $1.77 billion worth of bets
for the year, up 25 per cent.
Kaplan is a former New York-area bookie who moved operations to
the Caribbean after his arrest on gambling charges in New York in
Despite the move, the U.S. has remained Kaplan's main market, officials
said. A warrant was issued for his arrest.
A federal magistrate ordered Carruthers held until a detention
hearing on Friday.
Source Code: http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/Business/2006/07/19/1691438-sun.html