Norbert Teufelberger, the co-Chief Executive Officer of the Bwin.Party online poker brand, was arrested in Belgium on Tuesday.
Although there has been no extensive explanation provided officially, it is apparent that the company does not have good relations with the Belgian authorities and is in violation of their laws. And as a result, Teufelberger is being held for questioning.
According to news report from Reuters:
A spokeswoman for the public prosecutor said Bwin had previously been asked to come to Brussels, but didn’t do so. Authorities then acted after they became aware that Teufelberger would be in Brussels on Tuesday.
Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment has commendably chosen to respond about the situation rather than turning silent as Full Tilt Poker did during the Black Friday debacle. The company promptly issued a statement soon after the news broke.
In response to press reports this afternoon, the Group can confirm that Norbert Teufelberger, Co-CEO, was requested to attend an interview with the Belgium authorities. He complied voluntarily with this request and is co-operating fully with the authorities.
In regards to the actual incident of the arrest where Bwin.Party’s CEO was arrested by the Belgian authorities, care was taken to avoid embarrassment. Sigrid Ligne, the secretary-general of the EGBA, explained that the police officers who came to meet Teufelberger were dressed in plain clothes. Teufelberger had just concluded a networking buffet lunch and a conference after which he was went with the authorities voluntarily. “They asked him to follow them for questioning, which he agreed to do,” Ligne stated having witnessed the incident.
The reason for this situation calling for the questioning of Norbert Teufelberger, the co-Chief Executive Officer of the Bwin.Party is because the Belgian gaming commission has found Bwin.Party in violation of their licensing laws. Peter Naessens, legal advisor of the Belgian gaming commission stated, “We have repeatedly asked them to apply for a license and they have refused to comply.”
Unfortunately, Teufelberger seems to be caught in a very difficult situation. He is required to answer to the Belgian authorities for not complying with their licensing laws while the Belgian authorities are avoiding complying with the European Commission’s trade and business fair play expectations. Bwin.Party’s spokesperson, John Shepherd stated, “We believe Belgian law does not comply with European law and the EC made it clear last month that it wanted Belgium to address its concerns.”