SEQUEL TO MANILA RAIDS ON INTERNET GAMBLING SERVICE SUPPLIERS
30th June, 2015 at 12:07:06
Disgraced former online casino executive Gustafsson could be in even more trouble.
Disgraced former Bodog Asia chief executive Robert Gustafsson, who already faces legal action on criminal and possibly civil allegations, could be in more trouble following the findings of the Philippines Court of Appeals late last month.
The findings are centred on late 2013 raids by the Manila police (triggered by Gustafsson) on independent support service businesses located in the Philippines city (see previous reports).
The police actions halted business and resulted in the seizure of documentary evidence and equipment, which the police have been restrained from using due to the questionable nature of the information that motivated the raids.
The police depended on Gustafsson's allegations of illegal online gambling activity to secure a dubious search warrant from Judge Zaldy B. Docena of the Regional Trial Court of Malabon City, which they used to secure access during the raids.
Gustafsson had earlier been dismissed by Bodog Asia for alleged incompetence, perhaps suggesting an ulterior motive on his part, and subsequent to the raids the company was granted a temporary restraining order regarding the prosecutorial use of any material seized during the police operation.
The company has consistently denied its former CEO's allegations.
The temporary injunction was made permanent by the Philippines Court of Appeals in its deliberations last month, finding that all evidence seized during the police operations as a result of the Docena search warrants must be classified as inadmissible.
In summary, the Appeal Court declared:
* The police had not shown probable cause for the issue of the search warrant. The Court characterised Gustafsson's allegations as "...so vague that one cannot tell if he indeed had personal knowledge of the alleged criminal activities."
* Judge Docena's regional trial court in Malabon had "...no territorial jurisdiction over the place where the alleged crime was committed."
* Judge Docena erred by listing two separate laws on the warrant, a constitutionally prohibited "shotgun" approach designed to cover multiple possibilities.
* The search warrant lacked specific direction as to what might be seized during the police operations, with the inclusion of office equipment overly wide and general, thus allowing the police to indulge in an illegal fishing expedition whilst on the raided premises.
* Gustafsson was unable to demonstrate to Judge Docena his allegation that Philippines residents were using the online gambling facilities provided by Bodog Asia outside the Philippines.
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