Gaming specialist charged with €153,000 fraud, money laundering

Betsson key affiliate manager Christiaan Alexander Van Dalen, 41, arrested and accused of using player details to create artificial website traffic and inflate his commission.

A Dutch online gaming specialist has been remanded in custody, as well as having all of his assets frozen, after being charged with fraud, money laundering and computer-related offences this afternoon.

Betsson key affiliate manager Christiaan Alexander Van Dalen, 41, appeared in court under arrest before magistrate Charmaine Galea , accused of having used player details to create artificial website traffic in order to inflate his commission.

Inspector Jonathan Ferris told the court that the accused’s role in the company was to strengthen existing client relations. Investigations revealed that the accused had created websites for online casinos and was “retagging” players from Betsson under his name, thereby creating commission for himself.

€153,000 was calculated to have been defrauded from Betsson, said the inspector. The funds would be deposited in what he called “electronic wallets”, from which they would be transferred to his wife’s HSBC accounts and the accused’s Netteller account. Around €35,000 were also transferred into a Filipino account held by his wife.

The rest of the money remained unaccounted for, although some of it appeared to have been used to purchase a property in the Philippines, said Ferris.

Together with Inspector Raymond Aquilina, also prosecuting, Ferris requested the court impose an asset freeze on all of the accused’s funds and those of his wife who, although unaware of the fraud, was in possession of monies obtained through it.

Legal aid lawyer Joseph Ellis strenuously objected to the freezing order on the wife’s assets, the lawyer questioning how such an order could be issued against a person who had neither been charged, nor accused.

“If the legislator said you can accuse ABC and issue a freezing order against any other person on earth that makes no sense...the law does not give you the prerogative or the right to freeze monies belonging to a third party.” He challenged the prosecution to specify under what provision of law they were requesting the order.

Inspector Aquilina explained that the proceeds of his activities were also placed in online wallets made out in his wife’s name. Once the money was paid into these wallets by Betsson, the accused would transfer them to his wife’s HSBC account.  “Even simple detention of the money would constitute money laundering,” added the inspector.

Lawyer Ian Vella Galea, appearing parte civile for Betsson, added that it was “very clear that he parked the funds in his wife’s account,” which he also clearly controlled. “There is a risk that if the freezing order is not issued, all funds will be lost,” concluded the lawyer.

Dismissing Ellis’ objections to the order, which he described as “outlandish and alien to our judicial system”, the court proceeded to impose the asset freeze, allowing the accused to access only €13,000 of his funds and prohibiting from transferring or otherwise disposing of any property. It ordered a report on the assets held by the couple to be drawn up.

“I am freezing the money which the accused has control over,” explained the court. Asked by the defence whether this also affected the accused’s wife’s paraphernal property, the court replied that it did.

In turning down the defence’s request for bail, the magistrate also ordered the director of prisons to bar the accused from access to any IT facilities, in order to prevent him from accessing his online gaming accounts and tampering with the evidence.