|The joint chief executives of Bwin, Manfred Bodner and Norbert Teufelberger who were arrested by French authorities on Friday have each been released on €300,000 bail settlements but have been warned that they could face up to three years in jail if found guilty of the charges against them.|
The two men were taken into custody on Friday as they prepared to give a press conference on their partnership with French football giants AS Monaco, and were held over the weekend. In court yesterday the presiding French examining magistrate warned the pair that they could each face lengthy terms in prison should they be found guilty of violating French gaming laws, before releasing them on bail.
Company spokesman, Konrad Sveceny, admitted that Austrian listed Bwin, formerly Bet and Win, may have been in breach of French gambling laws. 'French betting law says we cannot advertise in France unless we have a French licence, and to have a licence you have to be one of the two French betting monopolies. However our activity does comply with European law.'
Sveceny was referring to a judgment from the European court of justice three years ago, known as the Gambelli ruling, which aimed to restrict efforts by EU member states to inhibit online firms from competing with domestic operators. A further ECJ judgment is due later this year.
Trading in Bwin shares, which had been suspended after Friday’s arrests, resumed in Vienna yesterday with the price closing at a loss of 17%.