BUSINESS

Betsson acquires Betsafe; Russian prosecutors arrested for gambling

TAGs: Betsafe, Betsson, Moscow, Russia

betsson-betsafe-russiaSwedish betting operator Betsson AB has acquired Betsafe, a privately-held Malta-based company offering sports betting, casino and poker to primarily Nordic countries. Betsson pays €32.5m (half-cash, half-stock) up front, but depending on the “development of the acquisition and the integration thereof during 2011,” an additional sum may be owed, to a maximum of €27.5m. That would put the total purchase price at €60m. Betsafe’s founders André and Christer Lavoid and CEO Henrik Persson will be blended into Betsson’s management team in Malta. Betsson CEO Pontus Lindwall has high hopes for the union of “two profitable companies, each of which has proven its ability to gain market share in a highly competitive environment.”

‘Bet’ and ‘safe’ are not words you’d normally associate with Russia. The Moscow Times reports that the Russian Investigative Committee recently arrested two former senior prosecutors in Moscow, Dmitry Urumov and Vladimir Glebov, over their alleged connections with a local illegal gambling ring. Two other Moscow prosecutors have been put on a federal ‘wanted’ list in connection with the ring, which was allegedly protected by local prosecutors and senior police officers.

According to the Investigative Committee, this case has been in the works since 2009, but things ramped up when the ring’s alleged mastermind and his associate were arrested this February. Charges against the pair were dropped in exchange for their testimony against government officials implicated in the case. Also on the Committee’s wanted list is Valentina Spirina, a local restaurant owner who allegedly funneled gambling cash through her establishment. FYI, Spirina has two daughters: one is married to one of the wanted prosecutors; the other married a department head at the Prosecutor General’s Office.

And here it gets interesting. The Investigative Committee used to belong to the Prosecutor General’s Office, but the pair were split into separate agencies this January. Apparently, it’s been a jurisdictional turf war between the two ever since, with the Investigative Committee leaving no stone unturned in its zeal to connect prosecutors to the illegal gambling ring. The bad blood has twice provoked President Dmitry Medvedev into publicly chastising both agencies for airing their dirty laundry in public. Given how little attention the two agencies have paid to Medvedev’s ultimatums, we like to think he finishes his next rant with “Just wait until your father Putin gets home!”

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