ISRAELI INDICTMENT NAMES FOUR FOR FACILITATING ONLINE GAMBLING
15th September, 2011 at 04:03:43
State Attorney's Office claims that defendants distributed pre-paid gambling cards worth around $15 million for use on gambling websites.
Four men were named in a State Attorney's Office indictment filed with the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court in Israel Wednesday, alleging that the defendants helped to organise gambling, money laundering and tax evasion.
Yoel Azari, Yair Azari, Meir Mizrachi and Golan Shaul stand accused of distributing prepaid gambling cards worth around US$15 million for international gambling websites
, the Jerusalem Post newspaper reported.
The card sales are alleged to have netted the defendants around NIS 4 million (around US$1 million).
With the exception of the national lottery and the Israeli Commission for Sportsbetting, gambling - land and online - is regarded by the authorities in Israel as illegal. Since 2007, it has also been illegal for Israeli credit card companies to deal with online gambling transactions, and Israeli ISPs are restrained by law from facilitating online gambling connections to Israeli residents.
The indictments charge that the four defendants obtained thousands of cards and sold them under the auspices of a company, MYM Ltd, to kiosks and individuals around the country, who then sold them to online gamblers.
It is also claimed that the defendants transferred large sums of money estimated at almost US$9 million from the card sales to two major online gambling operators based outside of Israel, and that most of the income was not reported to the tax authorities, being deposited into a number of foreign bank accounts.
The illegal enterprise was uncovered by the police's Lahav 433 special unit, the State Attorney's office revealed this week, describing the accuseds' activities as "a complex and covert operation."
The State Attorney said in a statement that the investigation and indictments demonstrate ...another step in the economic enforcement against the Internet gambling phenomenon and added that further indictments may be filed against others involved in the case.
This is not the first time that international gambling companies have come up against strict Israeli anti-gambling laws. In 2007, a British executive of Victor Chandler, Michael Carlton, was detained during a trip to Israel (see previous reports).
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