Nov 9th 2007
Petter Nylander Unibet

After the arrest of the Unibet CEO, Petter Nylander made on October 25 the French government has become a target of criticism. French authorities arrested the CEO of the leading online sports book on charges of 'cyber-crime' and money laundering at Schiphol airport in Holland.

The incident started when France's two gambling monopolies, France des Jeux, its national lottery operator, and PMU, it's national horseracing board, made a complaint against Unibet claiming that the online sports book company breached their monopoly rights offering online gambling in France. What is interesting is that the arrest was made just when the French government was getting ready to grant that it has been illegally discriminated against online gambling operators to protect its gambling monopolies.

However, the French government has visibly distanced itself from the incident when a government spokesperson commented that 'PMU and France des Jeux have been allowed to drop their complaint against Unibet because this is not a matter between Unibet and the state.' Under European Union (EU) law, Unibet's online gambling operations are not considered illegal.

The arrest of the CEO of the leading online sports book was criticized by internal market commissioner, Charlie McCreevy, who argued that 'an innocent man may have been arrested'. It seems that incidents between France and Unibet occurred also in the past, as McCreevy began legal action against France earlier this year, when the state to permit a cycling team to enter sponsored by Unibet.

Other EU member countries also denounced Nylander’s arrest, particularly Sweden, which emphasized the fact that the EU arrest warrant released by French authorities is an instrument intended to combat terrorism and organized crime, not to be used as a political instrument.

Unibet CEO, Mr. Nylander is expected to be released any day now.

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