Saturday February 27,2016 : AUSTRIAN PROSECUTOR FILES BRIBERY CHARGES AGAINST FORMER BWIN EXECS
Reports that Vienna public prosecutor has filed accusations related to a bid for a Turkish betting licence.
Shock reports late Friday are that former Bwin top executives Norbert Teufelberger and Manfred Bodner have been accused with six others of corruption, money laundering and breach of trust offences in a filing last month by the public prosecutor in Vienna, Austria.
The charges are apparently based on an alleged attempt to offer bribes during an abortive project to secure a Turkish sports betting licence back in 2007, years before Bwin's merger with Party Gaming.
Working with lobbyists, it is alleged that around Euro 2.25 million was transferred to Lichtenstein-based Cort International Establishment to secure the licence, although Bwin subsequently claimed this was a consulting fee on the project.
Whatever the payment was, a licence was ultimately handed to Bwin, but turned out to be a fake. Bwin management eventually wrote off the money but launched legal proceedings against their erstwhile associates.
That, unfortunately was not the end of the story, because Austrian officials started their own investigations and were apparently informed that in fact the Bwin millions had been used to bribe Turkish government officials (how that ties in with a very expensive fake licence is not clear).
That enquiry resulted in the prosecutor going after the parties involved (including Teufelberger and Bodner).
Bwin has claimed that the charges are false and that Teufelberger and Bodner have engaged legal representatives to have the charges dismissed.
Our readers will recall that a year before the Turkish debacle, Bodner and Teufelberger made the news pages when they were briefly detained by French police on allegations that the company was offering online gambling without a licence…eventually the charges were dismissed.
In more recent times Teufelberger again found himself under arrest in Belgium on similar unlicensed gambling allegations in 2012; in that incident no charges were laid.