Yesterday, Petter Nylander was detained in Holland at the request of the French authorities. The chief executive of Unibet had been arrested over allegedly breaking French laws they had in place to protect the state-controlled online gambling monopolies.
Nylander was held on a European arrest warrant (EAW) issued by France. An EAW can be issued for laws that are broken under the issuing Member State by a custodial sentence or a detention order of at least 12 months
FranÃƒÂ§aise des Jeux, which runs the lottery, and PMU, the national horseracing board filed a commercial complaint based on the claim the Unibet breached their monopoly rights to internet gambling in France.
Petter NylanderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s arrest came under immediate criticism from Unibet, the European Commission and Swedish politicians who all use the argument that Unibet was perfectly legal under EU law.
“A worrying fact is that the European arrest warrant, an instrument put in place to combat terrorism and organized crime, is now used by the French government to punish those who fight French protectionism,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Christofer Fjellner a Swede who is a member of the European parliament.
“What will be the next sector to be threatened with French arrests? The French are turning the European arrest warrant into a political tool,” added Fjellner.
Later Tuesday it was announced that the French government was retreating from the arrest. As a spokeswoman for the budget ministry in Paris said,
“It is not a matter between the state and Unibet. FranÃƒÂ§aise des Jeux and PMU will be told to drop their complaint.”
France is preparing to announce that is has, in order to protect its state run online gambling monopolies, acted discriminately against outside online gambling operators and appeared embarrassed by the high profile arrest.
A spokeswoman for Unibet has stated, “They should release him immediately.” As of Wednesday, Petter Nylander was till in custody however he is expected to be released today.
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