Malta online gambling affiliate manager handed jail sentence

News on 30 Mar 2017

Christiaan Alexander Van Dalen (41), a former affiliate manager with the Betsson gambling group in Malta has been convicted of fraud, money laundering and other computer-related offences which prosecutors claim prejudiced his employers to the tune of Euro 153,000.

The Malta Today newspaper reported Thursday that Van Dalen has been sentenced to six years in prison and a Euro 15,000 fine, but has given notice that he intends to appeal. He is also required to repay the money he defrauded from Betsson.

The affiliate manager was accused of using player details to create artificial website traffic in order to inflate his commission. In November 2015 Inspector Jonathan Ferris arraigned Van Dalen under arrest, telling the court that police investigations had revealed that the accused had created websites for online casinos and was “retagging” players from Betsson under his name, thereby creating commission for himself.

The funds were allegedly deposited in “electronic wallets”, from which they would be transferred to his wife’s HSBC accounts and the accused’s Netteller account. Around Euro 35,000 was also transferred into a Filipino account held by his wife.

Prosecutors said that part of the money remains missing, and it is believed some of it was used to buy property in the Philippines.

Van Dalen’s notice of appeal is puzzling, given reportage that although he initially denied the charges, he later agreed a deal with the Attorney General to plead guilty in return for lighter punishment.

Handing down sentence, Malta Magistrate Joe Mifsud observed that money laundering was one of the hardest offences to investigate, which was why the law shifted the onus of proof onto the person accused, who would then have to prove the legitimate provenance of the funds in question.

In cases of suspected money laundering, the prosecution had to prove a link between the funds and the so-called “predicate offence” from which they were obtained, the magistrate explained.

The sentence included an order to seize for the government Van Dalen’s movable and immovable assets, including a BMW car which is to be handed to the police anti-money laundering unit for its use.

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