BODOG MANILA OFFICES RAIDED BY POLICE
22nd November, 2013 at 11:35:01
Online gambling operator claims charges are fallacious
The Manila, Philippines offices of online gambling operator Bodog Asia were the unwilling hosts for a police raiding party of a dozen officers - not all of them carrying official identification - late afternoon Thursday.
Employees were interviewed but not arrested and one claimed to the Manila Times that the police documents justifying the action were in respect of offering local gambling services - an accusation the company hotly denied.
The newspaper identified the police party as part of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the National Capital Region. Members of the party seized computers for further inspection, and remained on the premises for some time.
Police Sr. Supt. Roberto Fajardo, referred to industry personality Calvin Ayre in speaking to the newspaper, and appeared to be under the mistaken impression that the Canadian entrepreneur still owned the gambling firm, when he actually owns and franchises out only the brand.
Fajardo claimed that Ayre had been in the country, and said he had asked the Philippines Bureau of Investigation to check its exit and entry records to ascertain whether Ayre had since left. The Canadian used the alias Calvin Wilson while in the country, Fajardo said, adding that the police believed that Bodog Asia's call-centre was actually taking bets.
Bodog Asia issued a statement on the incident Friday, saying that it had been falsely accused of running a numbers game to residents of the Philippines.
"Part of our license agreement is not to offer services to residents of the Philippines and, therefore, we do not," the statement claimed.
"The local police are, however, obliged to follow up the accusation and we are, of course, fully cooperating with them to quickly clear up the situation. In the meantime, some of our services are, naturally, being disrupted as our staff helps the police.
"We are confident this issue will be resolved quickly with minimum disruption to our customers.
Exciting some comment and speculation, an employee claimed that one of the police officers on the raid had commented that the police action was politically motivated.
Bodog lawyers are currently involved in discussions with the police in a bid to get charges dropped and equipment returned.
The Philippines branch of Bodog Asia has been in the news extensively over the past few weeks, with a major investigation and criminal charges of fraud laid again former executive Jan-Robert Gustafsson and several employers (see previous reports).
This week there have been reports of further charges added to an already substantial list of alleged wrongdoings as an independent forensic audit digs deeper into the company's records and unearths financial irregularities allegedly perpetrated by Gustafsson and his fellow defendants.
The amounts involved in the fraudulent activity are significant, with one source claiming that the total is already well over a quarter of a million dollars.
Related News Tags: Canada, Crime, Philippines