28 held for online World Cup betting scheme

Police officer allegedly provided gambling ring with "technical assistance."

June 23, 2010 05:49
1 minute read.
Fans play their vuvuzelas prior to the World Cup g

Vuvuzela 311 AP. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Twenty eight people – including a police officer – were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of running a major online gambling scheme that allowed users to access foreign Web sites and place bets on World Cup soccer games.

The police officer was said to have “provided technical assistance to the suspects,” investigators said. He is being questioned by the Interior Ministry’s Police Complaints Department.

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Officers from the National Crimes Unit, the Lahav 433 police task force and Tax Authority officials raided 40 locations Tuesday morning, arriving at suspects’ homes, as well as offices, kiosks and currency exchange spots across Israel. The arrests followed an undercover investigation.

Internet gambling was outlawed in Israel in 2007, and the government and police have introduced online filters designed to prevent Israelis from accessing foreign gaming sites and using credit cards to place bets.

The suspects allegedly gave players in Israel a prepaid card that allowed them to illegally circumvent restrictions and access the Victor Chandler online betting Web site, which is based in Britain, as well as the Stan James Web site.

In addition to being suspected of belonging to an illicit gambling organization and laundering money, the suspects also “failed to report profits from commissions, provided partial reports on salaries to employees, and failed to report incomes,” the Tax Authority said.

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