26 October 2007

EGBA condemns detention of Unibet CEO and France’s disrespect of EU law

Following a European arrest warrant issued by the French authorities, Petter Nylander, CEO of Unibet, a European publicly listed company has been arrested in the Netherlands on 22 October 2007. The European Gaming and Betting Association, of which Unibet is a member, strongly disapproves this action.

The arrest comes at a time, when France’s legislation on gaming is being challenged both at EU and national level. These actions by French authorities completely disregard the European Commission’s Reasoned Opinion of June 2007, which underlined the disproportionality of threatening and imposing criminal sanctions on CEOs of sports betting companies licensed in the EU. The 2007 European Court of Justice’s verdict “Placanica” confirmed that criminal proceedings brought against legitimate operators based in other EU member states are in contradiction with the EU Treaty.

With a few days to go before the expiration of the deadline to answer the Reasoned Opinion, which has already been extended by two months to allegedly facilitate dialogue and solutions between all parties, the EGBA questions the objectives of the French government today. On the one hand, France has recently and repeatedly claimed its willingness to cooperate with the European Commission, while on the other hand it enforces the same criminal sanctions as one year ago. Norbert Teufelberger, chairman of EGBA, said: “History is repeating itself. Therefore, we now urge the European Commission to adopt swift measures against France. Petter Nylander has all the support of the EGBA, and we call on French and Dutch authorities to immediately end these disproportionate sanctions. ”

press release of EGBA

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