Former bwin.party executives face bribery charges in Austria
The founders and former co-chief executives of Bwin have reportedly been charged with bribery by authorities in Austria
According to Austria media outlet Trend, Norbert Teufelberger – who remains a non-executive director of the enlarged bwin.party-GVC group – and Manfred Bodner have been charged with activities related to a failed bid for a Turkish sports betting licence in 2007.
The report states that when official licence negotiations failed, the operator hired a number of lobbyists, which in turn hired more lobbyists in Turkey, including Ali Ocak, who said the company could secure a licence if it paid him just under €2.3 million ($2.5 million).
bwin.party has since said that the money was intended as a consulting fee paid to Cort International Establishment, a company based in Liechtenstein.
Bwin.party said it found out that the licence was not legitimate and soon went on to secure the necessary licence for operating in Turkey, and later launched legal proceedings against the fraudsters.
However, the Trend report said authorities in Austria allege that the €2.3 million payment had actually served as a bribe, leading to the prosecutor filing an indictment against Teufelberger and Bodner.
In 2006, Teufelberger and Bodner were arrested in Nice, France, for illegally offering online gambling services in the country without the necessary licence. They were eventually acquitted in 2014.
Related article: New Jersey clears bwin.party to operate under GVC ownership