Posted 3/29/11 : Operator's identity not revealed
Several online gambling information sites this week started reporting the demise following police action of an unnamed Russian online casino, quoting reports in the RIA Novosti publication.
Because the authorities did not release information on the site concerned, speculation was rife and centred mainly on a large and well known operator in the Russian market…but the fact remains that the identity of the operator has yet to be confirmed.
And the site most often named in the speculative reports is still up and online.
Sorting the wheat from the chaff, what is known is that:
* A known Russian Ministry of the Interior spokesperson, Larisa Zhukova, told RIA Novosti that a police action had targeted a large online casino operation that generated some 200 000 roubles a day in profits – that's about $7 000.
* She revealed that the alleged owner – a 33-year-old man – had been taken into custody, along with five other employees.
* The identities of those detained were not disclosed.
* She claimed that over its ten operational years online, the internet casino concerned had made ‘hundreds of millions of dollars' in illegal profits, and that the operation indulged in money laundering through complex foreign bank financial movements. These monies were likely untraceable, and had been converted into investments in overseas companies.
* She said that the operation used online casino technology from an unidentified company outside Russia.
* That the casino offered some 470 different games.
* The police action was carried out by members of the Interior Ministry “K” agency and included visits to the residences and offices of those concerned.
* Computer equipment was seized by the police, together with 27 million rubles in cash (about $1 million)
* Charges are being formulated under Article 171 of the criminal code relating to operating an illegal business, the punishment for which can include prison sentences of up to five years.