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Trio jailed in Dutch illegal gaming case

| By iGB Editorial Team
Far-reaching prosecution sees a number of individuals jailed or sentenced to community service for involvement in illegal gambling operations

Three defendants in a long-running criminal case related to illegal gambling have been jailed for up to two years and hit with €100,000 fines by the Oost-Brabant Court in the Netherlands.

The main suspects were convicted of running an illegal gambling operation, money laundering and tax evasion. The trio were each fined €100,000, with one of the three also banned from working in the gambling industry for three years.

The trio are reported in the Dutch media to be former Sheriff Gaming chief executive Stijn Flapper and brothers Maurice and Michel Gregoire. Flapper and Michel Gregoire have been sentenced to two-year prison terms, with Maurice Gregoire jailed for a 16-month term.

The investigation, codenamed Rykiel, was first launched by the Netherlands Public Prosecutor in 2012 after it was tipped off that the trio were involved in an illegal gambling organisation. Following a series of raids in 2013, the prosecutor filed charges against 31 defendants, including 13 companies, ranging from violations of Dutch gambling laws, participation in a criminal organisation, money laundering and the use of false invoices and contracts.

The Oost-Brabant court ultimately found the three suspects, the management of the company they established, its employees, financial advisors and a software developer, formed a criminal organisation to illegally target Dutch players.

The suspects’ defence, which claimed that they could not be punished for illegally offering gambling in the country because of social and legal developments, was rejected.

The court also ruled that foreign legal entities had been used in an attempt to hide the illegal gambling operation. These entities were used to hide the source and destination of money raised, aided by the use of false invoices and contracts.

The court estimates that more than €100m was laundered through this set-up, with the mother of one of the main suspects also found guilty of money laundering. Two of the main suspects’ partners were convicted for profiting from criminal activity, with the third, alongside a number of the suspects’ employees, acquitted due to lack of evidence.

However an unspecified number of employees were sentenced to community service alongside the mother and two of the three suspects’ partners, in some cases alongside suspended prison sentences. The foreign legal entities were hit with fines of up to €20,000, while the gaming software developer and financial advisors were sentenced to between seven and 12 months in prison, with the developer also fined €50,000. The financial advisors were also hit with a three-year professional ban.

Finally, the illegal gaming company’s lawyer was acquitted of violating Netherlands gaming laws, participating in a criminal organisation, money laundering and drawing up false contracts. The court found that there was insufficient evidence to prove any of the charges.

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