Witnesses to be heard in €14m Malta forgery claim

Court orders witnesses be heard in criminal case filed against betting company over forgery complaint

A court will hear witnesses testify against betting company Tipico over an alleged forgery in 2018, in fresh challenge proceedings filed by a former franchise partner.

Antonios Stampolidis, previously a Tipico franchise partner, filed the challenge through his lawyer Rachel Tua on Monday. This brings to three the number of lawsuits Stampolidis has brought against the betting giant in Malta.

The latest challenge, if ratified by magistrate Nadine Lia, will force the police to prosecute company representatives for forgery. A previous police challenge was stalled due to the fact that the Commissioner of Police, to whom it was addressed, had stepped down.

Stampolidis, representing the BVI-registered Chadborn Holdings, which owns 10 Tipico shops in Austria as a franchise partner, had sued the Malta-based betting company for damages in the region of €14 million for breach of a franchise contract. In that suit, he alleged that Tipico’s former director Oliver Voigt had transferred Stampolidis’s signature from a faxed copy of a draft contract onto an amended version which Stampolidis had already rejected.

An affidavit was also attached to the latest criminal complaint filed with the police, insisting that the police must now proceed against Voigt, after the police had failed to take further action following a previous criminal complaint filed in 2019.

Stampolidis, who has since moved on to start his own gambling software company, said he calculates that Tipico owes him €15-20 million. He said he is confident that he would win all of the three cases filed.

Meanwhile, two civil cases for damages against Tipico and Voigt are underway with Stampolidis’s witnesses having already testified or presented their affidavits. In those cases, the plaintiff is requesting the courts to declare all the contracts entered into after the alleged forgery null and award damages.

In the press, Tipico is reported to have denied the allegations as “completely not true” and said that Voigt had not been director for the three years leading up to the filing of the civil suit. According to Tipico, the ending of the contractual partnership between the two parties was “completely different to that reported by the sworn application and it is absolutely not true that the defendant company breached contractual dispositions in some way.”

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