Unibet CEO released on bail

The Swedish CEO of betting company Unibet was released on bail by a French court on Wednesday. Bail was set at €200,000.

Commenting on his release, Petter Nylander said in a statement that Unibet had “always stayed within the law”.

Nylander, 43, was travelling to Britain on Monday October 22nd when he was arrested for breaking laws protecting France’s state gambling monopoly. He was detained by Dutch passport police as he was passing through a control at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

Late last week a Dutch court ordered for him to be handed over to French authorities as soon as possible. He was flown to France on Wednesday October 31st.

Unibet’s chief counsel, Ewout Keelers, last week slammed the decision to keep the Swedish businessman in custody.

“You don’t need to put someone in jail in order to get him to answer questions. To arrest him and keep him locked up in a cell is nothing short of Guantanamo treatment,” he said.

Unibet and Sweden members of parliament have questioned the legitimacy of the use of a European Arrest Warrant in the case of Nylander. The warrants were introduced following the September 11th attacks to make it easier to extradite people accused of serious crimes such as terrorism.

Sweden’s Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, indicated that it was not clear that the Nylander case was the kind of crime that should be covered by the warrants.

“This will naturally lead to a discussion about whether this is the kind of alleged crime that they [the European Arrest Warrants] were really intended for,” he said.

The European Court of Justice has previously stated that it is against EU law to bring criminal proceedings against legitimate gaming operators based in other EU member states.

A spokesman for the European Commission, which has launched a legal challenge to the French betting monopoly, criticized Nylander’s arrest.

“In our view, somebody might have been arrested who is innocent under (EU) law,” Oliver Drewes, a spokesman on EU internal market issues, told reporters in Brussels last Tuesday.

“We believe that the French sports betting legislation is not in line with (European) community law.”