Former Bwin Executives to Face Bribery Charges After Alleged Licensing Fees Come into Question
A public prosecutor in Austria has charged eight different individuals with several violations including bribery. Of the eight accused, two are former executives of bwin.party Digital Entertainment. Trend, an Austrian media outlet reported back in January that other charges included money laundering, corruption and breach of trust.
Manfred Bodner and Norbert Teufelberger are the two top executives for the online gambling operator that are facing charges for bribery. Prosecutors allege that a failed bid of a sports betting license in Turkey led to bribery admissions back in 2007. When initial licensing procedures didn’t go as planned, bwin.party hired lobbyists who in return hired other lobbyists who resided in Turkey. Bwin was able to obtain their license for €2.25 million according to one of the Turkish lobbyists.
Bwin is claiming that the money they paid for the license was supposed to be a fee paid for consulting practices to Cort International Establishment, a firm located in Lichtenstein. Much after receiving its license to operate in Turkey, bwin discovered that they license was not real, it was indeed a counterfeit one. Bwin sought legal proceedings against the Turkish fraudsters, but when investigations were underway authorities discovered that the millions of dollars spent was actually a bribe.
This isnt the first time the execs have been in trouble, a 2006 incident in France saw both Teufelberger and Bodner arrested for offering online gambling illegally in the country, however both were acquitted of the charges in 2014.