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US Judge Extends Order Against Betonsports

by Glen Shapiro,, New York

05 September 2006

The US ban against UK-listed gaming company Betonsports was extended until September 20th by US District Judge Carol Jackson in St Louis,allowing extra time for the Justice Department to serve pleadings on the company in Costa Rica and London.

"The primary goal has been to serve Betonsports so we can move forward, because it is essential that the company be notified," Jackson said from the bench. Government lawyers said the Justice Department hadn't been able to serve Betonsports in Costa Rica because the office is closed, but expected to be able to serve the company in London this week.

As at previous hearings, the company declined to be represented in the St Louis courts by a lawyer, suggesting that the company is taking the stance that the US authorities have no jurisdiction over its non-US operations. "By not coming to court, you can make the assumption that since we weren't served, we can carry on our business in a normal capacity," Kevin Smith, a BetonSports spokesman, said in August.

Betonsports and 12 individuals were indicted June 1st by a federal grand jury. Charges include racketeering, mail fraud and facilitation of gambling across state and national boundaries. Trading of Betonsports stock in London was suspended on July 18th at the company's request. The company ran its US Internet business from Costa Rica and Antigua.

Founder Gary Kaplan and British CEO David Carruthers were among those indicted. Carruthers, 48, was arrested in July as he changed planes in a Dallas airport. At a hearing in August, Carruthers pleaded not guilty to the charges of fraud and racketeering in St Louis. Under the terms of a bail agreement negotiated between defense lawyers and prosecutors, Carruthers was bailed under a $1 million bond and is under house remain in the vicinity of St Louis. An arrest warrant has been issued for Gary Kaplan.

Previous, similar cases suggest that the Justice Department will probably be successful in its case against Betonsports, which has already ceased to accept bets from US residents, although the company's lawyers probably intend to fight the indictments on the grounds that the US has no jurisdiction over internet transactions taking place outside its borders.

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