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FBI Arrests Neteller Execs 379

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the jig-is-up dept.
Alcibaides writes "In a follow-up to the 2006 law attacking Internet gambling, the FBI arrested two former Neteller executives in 'connection with the creation and operation of an Internet payment services company that facilitated the transfer of billions of dollars of illegal gambling proceeds.' Apparently, the execs were 'ambushed' as they passed through the U.S. on connecting flights. Consequently, Neteller has dropped all gambling-related activity to U.S. customers, a move not expected for several months."
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FBI Arrests Neteller Execs

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  • Not US Citizens... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sorthum (123064) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:29PM (#17674826) Homepage
    This should be interesting, to see how foreign countries react to the detention of their citizens for something so paltry...
    • by clark0r (925569) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:06PM (#17675250) Homepage
      They wont do anything. I have a friend who works for a poker book publishing company who have an online poker site. His boss has been warned by other people in the business, not to travel to the US because if they arrested him, there would be no help.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:04PM (#17675834)
      ok now I am really worried as a Britt living in the US for 7 years. I wanna know what is going to happen to my insurance rates when the police here finally give me all the tickets for driving on the wrong side of the road for 15 years.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Rohan427 (521859)
      You must understand, our (the US) government doesn't give a damn about the rights of anyone, the laws of any other country, morality, or justice if it contradicts their agenda. Their attitude is basically to hell with the rest of the world, we'll just stomp on you if you give us any grief, take away foreign aid, etc.

      You can thank the uninformed, stupid, voters and the even more uniformed, and even more stupid people that don't vote.

      PGA
  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vertinox (846076) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:29PM (#17674838)
    FTFA:

    NETELLER suspended trading its shares on the London Stock Exchange in light of the detention of founding members Stephen Lawrence and John Lefebvre. Besides owning stock in NETELLER, the two do not hold any positions with the company.
    I thought the whole point of being a shareholder was that you couldn't be charged for the wrong doing of the corporation?
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:58PM (#17675168)
      Not only that, if the linked article is accurate, it doesn't seem that they broke the laws while in the United States. US citizens and banks did. They seem to have simply offered a service online; the service was even based outside the US.

      This also serves to point out another problem with US laws--they are so damn imprecise, broad, so encompassing, that it's simply up to the prosecution to pick and choose who they want to send to prison. Prosecutorial discretion, usually leveraged wisely, has now just become another tool to further political goals and new types of discrimination.

      This is like an American posting on an internet site hosted in Germany something that flies against hate speech laws in Germany from his home computer. Then, while traveling in Germany on a connecting flight to Italy, getting arrested. Ridiculous...and dangerous--this sets up the possibility of backlash as precedent for US citizens traveling to foreign countries to be arrested for "crimes" that were not illegal and performed in the US but flies in the face of foreign laws.
      • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by westlake (615356) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:03PM (#17675832)
        it doesn't seem that they broke the laws while in the United States. US citizens and banks did, the service was even based outside the US.

        This is the Kazaa defense. The Allofmp3.com defense.

        It doesn't matter where the casino is based. It matters that the casino was being marketed to customers in the U.S. It matters that the casino was accepting payments from U.S. accounts.

        If you have assets in the states that can be seized, they will be seized. If you have people in the states who can be arrested, they will be arrested.

        These are the ground rules when you set up shop off-shore.

        • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Informative)

          by kalpaha (667921) on Friday January 19, 2007 @01:01AM (#17676790)

          Neteller is not a casino. It's an eWallet company that (as far as I understand) was not breaking any laws before the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act [masteryofpoker.com] (UIGEA) passed. It is listed in the London Stock Exchange.

          The current issue (arrests of Neteller founders) is not really about gambling, they are not charged under the UIGEA. The charges are for money laundering. A quote from the press release [masteryofpoker.com]:

          "Stephen Lawrence and John David Lefebvre were arrested in connection with the creation and operation of payment services that faciliated the transfer of billions of dollars of illegal gambling proceeds from United States citizens. [...] This prosecution is part of the United States Department of Justice's effort to combat unlawful internet gambling through, among other things, the implementation of the federal anti-money laundering statute."

          I think the charges are bull, but at least they weren't stupid enough to go with the UIGEA charges. Also I think parent poster has his head up his ass. According to everyone but the US, Neteller was doing legitimate business (unlike Kazaa or AllOfMp3).

      • by Cyberax (705495)
        Even better analogy: how about shooting all gays and lesbians who happen to visit Saudi Arabia (or Iran)?
    • by timeOday (582209)

      I thought the whole point of being a shareholder was that you couldn't be charged for the wrong doing of the corporation?

      I'm curious to see if anybody will provide a straight answer to this, rather than just grumbling.

      I don't know the answer, but there must be a lot of caveats for shareholder immunity. Otherwise, instead of hiring a hitman, you'd just buy shares in Hitman, Inc. Anything from funding al-quada to replenishing your online poker account could be handled by "buying shares."

    • by pluther (647209)

      I thought the whole point of being a shareholder was that you couldn't be charged for the wrong doing of the corporation?

      Not entirely.

      If what the corporation was doing was against the law, and you can be proven to have knowledge of it, then you can be held liable.

      It's also possible to "pierce the corporate veil" in civil matters, if an officer can be proven to be negligent, though that's really hard to prove and the corporation generally has more money than any of the individuals involved, so usually

      • the interesting thing being that the "law" was made up to suit what they where doing.

        While I highly doubt that anything will be done to help these guys by their home government, imagine if this was a shareholder in a company like Sony or Toyota. Could you imagine the shitstorm it could create simply cause a bunch of pencilnecks in Washington where pissed off they didnt have their hand in the cookie jar.

    • by westlake (615356)
      I thought the whole point of being a shareholder was that you couldn't be charged for the wrong doing of the corporation?

      The shareholder is not immunized from criminal charges stemming from his own actions. You can be a stakeholder. You can also be the CEO.

  • Worrying... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZzzzSleep (606571) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:31PM (#17674850) Homepage Journal
    Note to self....
    Don't ever take a flight that stops over in the US if I've done something that the US might not like, even if it's perfectly legal in my country.
    • Re:Worrying... (Score:5, Informative)

      by gvc (167165) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:37PM (#17674932)
      Not only that, don't fly near US air space in case you are grounded due to an emergency.

      http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=hea lth&res=9B0CE1DE1531F933A25752C0A962958260 [nytimes.com]
    • by bunions (970377)
      Vancouver and Toronto airports are both pretty good.

      Can anyone explain under what pretense the US gets to arrest noncitizens for violating US law?
      • by dorsey (119963) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:48PM (#17675058)
        Because internet gambling makes the baby Jesus cry.

        Seriously, that's all I got...
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        because people who were criminals under US law passed through the United States?
      • Re:Worrying... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:58PM (#17675786)

        Can anyone explain under what pretense the US gets to arrest noncitizens for violating US law?

        If a person has violated US law and is located in the US, regardless of his citizenship he is certainly subject to arrest and prosecution. This is true the world over. If you are on the soil of country XYZ you are subject to their laws. If I were to break a Canadian law by electronic means (say stealing funds by hacking into a Canadian Bank) from the US, don't you think that I would be arrested by Canadian Police if they later found me travelling in Canada? Of course I would.

        Now of course there is a question as to whether these two actually violated US law, but that will be determined in court soon enough. I am sure that the Canadian Ambassador is twisting arms to get to the root of this.
      • Re:Worrying... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by moxley (895517) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:04PM (#17675836)
        I can explain it. It's called the "our-government-passes-vaguely-worded-laws-then-in tperets-them-however-they-like-in-order-to-do-what ever-the-fuck-they-want-to-whoever-whenever" rule; (and they don't let little things like constitutions, sovereign borders, human rights, or rule of law dissuade them). You may not have heard of this rule yet, it was attached as a last minute amendment to a spending bill. (yes, I think it's time to remake that old schoolhouse rock).
  • by squirrl811 (857882) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:32PM (#17674864)
    Well, I played too much online poker anyways.

    I don't see why the federal government is making such a huge deal out of online gambling, aside from the fact that it is currently not taxed. I don't really think the government deserves any more money, but I'd rather pay a small tax on my gaming than have it outlawed as some mysteriously corrupt moral issue. Other than taxation, how is this any different from the government endorsed lottery or allowed casinos in Atlantic City and Vegas?
    • by ttys00 (235472) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:32PM (#17675518)
      The reason the government cares is that half a dozen native Indian tribes, who happen to own casinos, have bought a large bunch of politicians. Jack Abramoff was acting as the router to distribute the cash amongst congressmen. They and their constituents don't care about online gambling - they are just voting on legislation the way their "campaign contributors" tell them to vote.

      Also, as you say, tax is part of it. There is a large budget deficit, and outlawing online gambling before raising taxes on casino gambling would go part of the way towards filling the hole in the government's finances.
    • you do know you're supposed to pay taxes on it, right? (all gambling winnings). If you are audited you WILL be asked to explain what those deposits are for.
    • by woolio (927141)
      I don't see why the federal government is making such a huge deal out of online gambling, aside from the fact that it is currently not taxed.

      I think taxation alone would be enough for the govt to care... Besides that, international gambling becomes a type of "trade" that cannot be controlled very easily (e.g. subsidies/taxes)... Seems like it has the potential to become an unrestricted flow of money in/out of the country with little accounting behind it.

      Also, isn't gambling useful for doing something
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:33PM (#17674876)
    The warmaking industry is apparently a far safer place for an executive to be. After all, their products are only being used to kill people. It's not like they're offering a completely voluntary service like gambling, which of course is among the most terrible things that can be done. I mean, how dare somebody be given the ability to spend their money as they choose!

  • by viking80 (697716) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:33PM (#17674880) Journal
    It is worrisome how the US is trying to enforce its law on the whole world.

    Many companies/people operate fully within the law of the land they live in. If this is breaking a US law, then the US should work with that government to harmonize the laws.

    This is similar to how Muslim courts found danish cartoonist guilty of depicting mohammed, and condemned them to death.

    • "It is worrisome how the US is trying to enforce its law on the whole world."

      Respectfully, I have to call bullshit. It's not the US trying to enforce its law on the whole world. Its the US trying to enforce its laws within their borders. Gambling businesses are making money from people living within US borders where that business is illegal. If you violate US law, don't step foot within their borders. They may arrest you. Having said that, the US would do a whole lot better working with these folks fo
      • Respectfully, I have to call bullshit. It's not the US trying to enforce its law on the whole world. Its the US trying to enforce its laws within their borders. Gambling businesses are making money from people living within US borders where that business is illegal. If you violate US law, don't step foot within their borders.

        Why doesn't the US just be a bit more honest with its citizens and setup a Chinese style firewall around the entire country?

        Much more honest for Americans to see a "The Bush administrat
        • "Why doesn't the US just be a bit more honest with its citizens and setup a Chinese style firewall around the entire country?

          Much more honest for Americans to see a "The Bush administration is preventing you from gambling for your own good" page then to have the US attempting to enforce it's laws across the entire internet."

          I can't argue with that in the least. But, everyone knows the US government is not exactly honest with their citizens, much less the world.
      • by viking80 (697716) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:21PM (#17675402) Journal
        What you are suggesting is very dangerous. If I put up a web page, it should sufficethat I comply with all local laws.

        If I have to consider the laws of all nations in the world, I pretty much have to hire attorneys from each of the contries to review my website.
        And I can not:
        1. Enjoy fredom of expression (Illegal all over, including china)
        2. Critizise leaders (putin, il-jung-sum, most communists and others)
        3. Advertize alcoholic beverages (Illegal in many arab countires)
        4. Have any sexual material (again illegal in many countires)
        5. Have any religious material worshipping any other gods than allah
        6. Have any religious material worshipping any other gods than jhave
        7. Have any religious material worshipping any other gods than
        8. Download music(illegal in USA)

        An in many cases illegal means "To be stoned to death"

        Is this what you advocate?
        • Oops! I think you're missing my point. Put anything you want on the internet. If your site is used by folks in country in a way that is illegal in their country, then if you come into that country you may very well be arrested. I'm not necessarily saying that's right, I'm saying that's the way the country's law works. You raised great points. Let me bring one you didn't...child porn. Do you think that if child porn is allowed in a country and is presented on the internet that viewers of that child po
        • What you are suggesting is very dangerous. If I put up a web page, it should sufficethat I comply with all local laws.

          Unfortunately life is a little more complicated than that. This is a case of a company putting up a web page that results in people making illegal financial transactions in another country. The web page content per se is not a problem. It is the financial transactions that are. No country is going to give up it's power to regulate commerce. That is one of the most fundamental aspects of nati
      • by nuggz (69912)
        The issue isn't the US enforcing its laws within its own border.

        The real issue is the US enforcing laws made after the act.
        Arresting someone for something that was legal at the time it was done is not reasonable.
        • You do know that some aspects of internet gambling have always been illegal in the US due to the Wire Act of 1961? And these Neteller execs are being charged under this 1961 law, which was clearly not after the fact?

    • It is worrisome how the US is trying to enforce its law on the whole world.

      Not in this case. The violations in US law are alleged to have occurred within the US. I am afraid that if you are going to do business with people living in the US you are subject to US law. If you do this business illegally from a foriegn country and then travel to the US you are subject to prosecution within the US.

      The US is not telling the Canadian government or Canadian citizens how to act in Canada. In fact all this protest is
    • the US should work with that government to harmonize the laws.

      Harmonizing laws is a really bad plan. That way, every time the law is wrong *everyone* is screwed. If the law is different in two different places, you have a chance you're in the place where you agree with the law; even if you're not, you can move.

      No... the world is a much better place with other countries *not* harmonized with US law.

    • You know I'd have a lot more sympathy for this point of view if the US were trying to extradite them from wherever they live. However these twits flew to the US by themselves! Would us Europeans object if a US spammer targetting EU citizens was arrested passing through Europe? Hmmmm.....food for thought at least.
  • by Macthorpe (960048) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:33PM (#17674884) Journal
    ...the solution for these people who want to run a business like this is to never go to or trade within America. Ever.

    What a sad state of affairs.
  • Not only will you be fingerprinted when you get here, there is a high chance of a search as well. Oh, and if you've broken any laws we don't like, even if you weren't in the US, we may just arrest you as you pass through. I'd say we are developing some isolationist policies, but then we are invading other countries at the same time, so I can't find any consistency within our foreign policy. Like the forgive illegal aliens push, while building a fence to prevent more...
    • by ScentCone (795499)
      Oh, and if you've broken any laws we don't like, even if you weren't in the US

      Well, you can rant all you want, but the whole point is that these guys are the primary money behind a company that was doing financial business in the US contrary to US law. It's not exactly a mystery.
      • by Lehk228 (705449)
        the businesses were doing business online. it is the responsability of the person in a given country to follow the laws, not the responsibility of a service provider to determine the laws of every single country and analyse each connection to find out what country it is from.

        if the US was seriouis about internet gambling they would confiscate all incoming transfers of money from the casinos while doing nothing to attack the sites themselves.

        when word gets out that uncle sam won't let you keep your winnin
  • Out of Curiosity... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sorthum (123064) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:34PM (#17674902) Homepage
    ...are they being charged with violating this new law, or with other laws that are already on the books? Since they haven't done anything but own stock in the company since 2005, one would think that they couldn't be accused of crimes they committed before they were classed as illegal...
    • by lorcha (464930)
      They are charged with money laundering, not the UIGEA. That seems to be a bit of a stretch, but what do I know?
  • by Tet (2721) <slashdot@astraEI ... minus physicist> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:35PM (#17674914) Homepage Journal
    the FBI arrested two former Neteller executives in 'connection with the creation and operation of an Internet payment services company that facilitated the transfer of billions of dollars of illegal gambling proceeds.'

    Leaving aside for a moment the ridiculous two faced nature of American anti-gambling laws, this is just beyond a joke. As I understand it, the two former execs in question had left the company before the SAFE Port Act was passed. So they've been arrested for setting up a company that is 100% legal in their country of origin, and was legal at the time in the USA as well (in fact, it's still legal for non-gambling related payments), and they no longer have anything to do with the company in question, aside from still holding shares.

    "Land of the free", huh? I'm lost for words. The American legal system is just a joke.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mark2003 (632879)
      Now does that mean that execs at the US mega-casino corps that are snapping up British online gaming companies (at knock down prices) will be subject to the same treatment?
      br>One might suspect not.

      How about those Wall Street investors who have invested in these same companies?

      I doubt it.

      Again this is an example of the good ol' US of A throwing it's weight around to increase the bank balances of a few of it's blessed citizens. The fact that the US is goin after companies that trade (legally) in one of
  • by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:44PM (#17675022) Journal

    The U.S. Internet Gambling laws were only passed because British companies were dominating the market. If it the law was passed for moral reasons as its proponents (and much of the press) reported, then why not shut down Las Vegas too?

    It shows how one sided the U.S. is when it comes to trade. Britain is a loyal (sickeningly loyal) friend of the U.S., and look how they get treated. With friends and enemies alike, the U.S. like thugs and wonders why it's become so unpopular.

    BTW U.S. = government and big business. Not talking about your average Joe, who is as much a victim as everyone else.

  • dangerous world (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:47PM (#17675052)
    As a former employee of Neteller, I've got to say that this is a pretty scary situation.

    Neteller wasn't a sketchy operation being run in some warehouse. It employed over 500 people in Canada and paid taxes to the government here.

    The company had a lot of dealings with various state governments in the US and had agreed to several restrictions long before the recent bill passed that made online gambling in the US completely illegal.

    The firm employed nearly 100 software developers, many were consultants and contractors that were flown in from california. I'm sure that I'm not the only ex-employee now concerned about having to deal with the US government in the future.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by popejeremy (878903)
      To clarify one of your points, online gambling in the U.S. isn't actually illegal. What *is* illegal is for a financial institution to do transactions with an online gambling institution. The upshot of this is that you won't get arrested for sitting in your house and playing online poker, but people like the CEOs of companies like NETeller can get arrested. And apparently they have. Even though they were only in charge *before* this law was even passed. With every passing day I am more terrified of my go
  • by zoftie (195518) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:57PM (#17675164) Homepage
    Because all gambling isn't illegal means US government is protecting someone else's interests and its own profits -> tax revenue. Because there is alot of money going across the board, and taxes aren't paid. And none of these people are friends of Bush family. If there were, this little problem would silently go away. All in all, liberty in america it has become is for those who are with a largest pocketbook. It is pretty bad, but not as bad in some other places.

    Though the fact that executive staff were not employed by the company anymore. What can they do? Put them into a jail? I smell political agenda there, not justice for preservation of liberty and freedom of the peoples of the country.
    2c
  • Passing through. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gnomeza (649598)
    So *this* is the reason there's no such thing as sterile transit through US airports. gfd.
  • by troll -1 (956834) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:08PM (#17675264)
    I think Jon Stewart [youtube.com] sums it up pretty well. Some things are so absurd they're actually funny.
  • Internet gambling from the US results in (a) no taxes, (b) no regulation and (c) no oversight. Gambling in the US is one of the most regulated and watched industries there is. The assumption seems to be in the US that any sort of gambling is operated by organized crime and has the objective of cheating people. Why is this assumption here? Because it is true in the US. Las Vegas was controlled completely by the mob.

    So, a large part of this is the assumption that people are being cheated because there is
  • Send the message (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lothsahn (221388) <Lothsahn@@@SPAM_ ... u_bastardsyahocm> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:19PM (#17675386)
    If you live in the US, send this message to the president. Let's make it clear what the people of the United States want.

    The president's email address is: comments@whitehouse.gov

    Subject: Release Neteller Execs

    Two former NETELLER executives were detained while traveling separately through the United States yesterday (Jan. 15) in "connection with the creation and operation of an Internet payment services company that facilitated the transfer of billions of dollars of illegal gambling proceeds from United States citizens to the owners of various Internet gambling companies located overseas," according to the U.S. Attorney General's office of Southern New York.

    The two executives are: Stephen Eric Lawrence and John David Lefebvre.

    I don't know all the facts yet about these men--the full story will come out in time, but arrests like these men, Maher Arar, and Sklyarov make the United States look VERY bad. This is hurting our economy, our public image, and our relations with the rest of the world. This is encouraging (although not the cause of) people to oppose the United States on many levels, and I believe it is making the current terrorist situation worse.

    These two men are Canadian citizens, and they have been arrested for performing an activity against a law which was not passed at that time, for a company which perfomed a legitimate service which was and still is legal under Canadian law. It is not the US's prerogative to enforce our view of the law against people in other nations.

    Canada is one of our closest allies. By alienating them we are hurting ourselves.

    We have to stop arresting businessmen who are traveling through the United States and performing legal legitimate services in other countries -- as long as they are not threatening our national security. It is an offense to those other countries' law and it will damage our Economy and public image. I only want what is best for the United States and Justice. I want to see the freedom for all that you so often preach.

    I call for a quick release of all facts, and if necessary a presidential pardon of the two people involved. Show the world that the United States truly is the home of the free.
    • The bills and the work that this centers around is supported by both parties. That the Dems support this is not strange, the Democratic Party is about the government protecting and supporting the poor stupid population against them selves and others. As such the Dems are for limitations on individual freedoms, high taxes (to fund their government programs) etc.

      The traditional platform for the Republican Party is the opposite. The individual is responsible for his own actions, has the ability to think for

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ClassMyAss (976281)
        You make some interesting points, which I mostly agree with - the Republican ideal has been perverted beyond any recognition. Of course, I'm young enough so that frankly, it has been that way for as long as I've been following politics at all, so I quite often forget that this is not how conservativism is supposed to look. But let's be honest with ourselves, when you're talking about a party that prefers small government and unrestricted personal freedom (within reason, of course), you've never been talki
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:27PM (#17675474) Homepage Journal
    The offline casinos, not just in the US, must love this action. I wonder how much they paid for it?
  • Seriously, Lefebvre is known here in Calgary (where he is from) for donating lots of money to various social causes and institutions. Now all he'll be donating is a lot of spare time to the US 'PMITA' system. What a shame that those backwards Americans are so high and mighty with their 'morals' and 'values' and what not. It's not like gambling is a huge crime either. Can't someone enjoy a night of online gambling in the privacy of their own home without big brother poking around? Where's the harm? If Lefe
  • I want to set up a proxy for people in China to use so they can avoid censorship. If I did this, and I ever visited China (which I hope to do some day), is there a chance I would be arrested if the Chinese government became aware of this hypothetical service and my identity? My assumption would be an affirmative “yes”, but what do any of you think? I am sure there are some international travelers on Slashdot who may do something similar.

  • creation and operation of an Internet payment services company that facilitated the transfer of billions of dollars of illegal gambling proceeds.

    Not Paypal!!!

    Oh wait, not this time...

  • by walnutmon (988223) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:29PM (#17676092)
    I just bought a bunch of poker books and after a trip to the bahamas to play poker with a bunch of the pros, my interest in poker has gone back up. I just reopend my neteller account and was ready for action. Oops!

    So really, is there any reason for this law? I mean, not a reason for the government, but for the people, you know... who the goverment should be making laws for.

    Why does the US Government feel that they are entitled to get a cut of every single thing that we do? We payed taxes on the money we play poker with, AND if you make enough playing poker, you have to pay taxes on that! So what the hell do they want? Do they want to take a tax on every single hand played?

    This is really just a disgusting show by our goverment where they are not even trying to be subtle in showing us that they can fuck with us whenever they want to.
  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:35PM (#17676158)
    For those of you screaming that the US is engaged in trade protection because they don't outlaw gambling completely I would like to point out a few things. The US is a republic composed of individual states which have more power and authority than our federal government. As a result of this 99% of all the vices (gambling, alcohol, etc..) are controlled at the state level. What this means is that in the US there are certain localities that have approved gambling, but many others (in fact the majority of the country) that doesn't allow it (much like alcohol, yes there are dry counties in the US).

    As a result of trying to maintain state harmony, US federal laws have long held the position that gambling by wire is Illegal. This current law is just an extension of that long historic policy (existing since the days of the telegraph). Not only is this to appease the states and localities that don't allow gambling but it's also because gambling draws organized crime, and without heavy regulation (and even with it in some cases) cheating by the casinos becomes the norm.

    So contrary to what you may think, if online gambling were legal in the US it would be absolutely dominated by the large corporations that run the casinos in Vegas. These casinos would JUMP at the chance to be involved in online gambling if they could (as 10 years ago they tried quite extensively to lobby congress to allow it), so any lobbying by the industry now is simply to allow a fair playground of enforcement of the US gambling by wire laws that already exist. Regulation of an enterprise historically and currently used as the single largest source of illegal money laundering isn't a bad thing, and you will have trouble getting sympathy from any significant percentage of US citizens who are bombarded by stories of lives destroyed by gambling addictions. And really, much like any crime, if you market your crime to citizens of another country and knowingly break that countries laws you need to be careful where you travel. For example, if I was going to go to China I wouldn't want to have ever been tied to anti-china activity as it would likely get me arrested. As another example, lets consider the south American drug lords, they don't bring drugs into the US personally nor do they in some cases do anything illegal in their own countries (at least that they are willing to prosecute them for), but many are sought for extradition to the US because they engage in an activity that creates crime in the US. In reality this is no different, as gambling online is unequivocally illegal in the US, but there are corporations and casinos engaged in actively breaking US law. Much like the drug lords they will pursue them for creating the market to violate US law although I doubt they will seek extradition of anyone.

    Lets just be clear, it had nothing to do with Britain dominating the industry, it had everything to do with preserving the current laws by adapting them to the internet. The industry is a victim of it's own success, had it remained small there might have never been action by the US congress, and the FBI wouldn't be trying to make an example of someone to try to scare the rest of the industry into not being active participants in the breaking of US law.

    Finally, it's apparent whoever arrested them didn't really know what was going on. They couldn't bring a case against the men simply for the fact that it would violate habeas corpus. With no current active role in the company (if true) their case won't go past the preliminary hearing.
    • No kidding (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LesPaul75 (571752)

      So contrary to what you may think, if online gambling were legal in the US it would be absolutely dominated by the large corporations that run the casinos in Vegas. These casinos would JUMP at the chance to be involved in online gambling if they could (as 10 years ago they tried quite extensively to lobby congress to allow it)

      I don't think that's "contrary" at all to what most people think. I think it's obvious that the major casinos salivate at the idea of running online gambling sites. Why wouldn't they

  • by mpaque (655244) on Friday January 19, 2007 @01:34AM (#17677022)
    is that these guys are not officers of the company, or employees. They are stockholders.

    These two gentlemen founded what was a perfectly legal business in the Isle of Man, Neteller PLC, in 1999. Mr Lawrence resigned as a non-executive director of the Company on 13 October 2006 having stepped down as non-executive chairman of the Company on 11 May 2006. Mr Lefebvre resigned as a non-executive director of the Company on 15 December 2005.

    With the passage of the "Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006" the activities of Neteller PLC in regard to transferring funds of US citizens for the purpose of gambling became illegal.

    Think it through. If you founded, or are an 'owner' by virtue of stock holdings, of a company whose activities are declared illegal somewhere in the world, and you happen to pass through a territory of that country, you could be held, your passport take away, without recourse. Before you hop on that next international flight, is every company in your retirement plan's mutual funds squeaky clean in all places you might touch down?
  • by nighty5 (615965) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:32AM (#17678052)
    One thing that seperates Australia from the rest of the world is we don't pay income tax on gambling earnings. The only main cavert is as long as the winnings weren't gained as a professional gambler.

    It makes it trival to do this in Australia.

    Our recent poker champion took home $1 million AUD and didn't pay a cent in tax - World Series 2005.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Hachem [wikipedia.org]

    I'm not sure about his current status, he probably pays tax now given his elevated income and career changes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by phorm (591458)
      Actually, it's the US that's different from the rest. Canada, (apparently) Australia, and from my understanding most of Europe do not tax lottery/contest winnings.
  • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Friday January 19, 2007 @07:42AM (#17678846) Homepage Journal
    Keeping in mind:

    - US collecting data from people flying there, for who knows which nefarious purposes.
    - Track history of US government aprehending innocent people in airports.
    - Kidnappings (euphemistically called "renditions") in order to let brutish governments do some bit of interrogation.
    - Secrecy about charges or laws if you are unlucky to be indicted or held for something nasty.
    - Guantanamo.

    I think my visits to all those wonderful places in the US I wanted to see may need to be postponed for a while. I have not been to NY for goodness sakes...

Get hold of portable property. -- Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"

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