BUSINESS

Sports Offshore case coming to court; Betfair founder sues own law firm

TAGs: Mark Davies, sports offshore

Patrice TierneyThe convicted wife of a reputable US congressman is likely to give evidence at the trial of her brother. 60-year-old Patrice Tierney has already served time for her work at the Antigua-based US-facing credit betting operation run by various members of her extended family. Daniel Eremian stands accused alongside brother Robert of running Sports Offshore (SOS) from a country where credit betting is an illegal practice. Tierney’s 30-day sentence related to work she did for the brothers helping to file false tax returns for which she remains on supervised probation.

In the case against her two brothers, Tierney is even mentioned in the proposed questions that prosecutors will pose to the jurors in addition to her status as a potential witness. The problem that Tierney encountered was a choice that US gambling law enforces on its own citizens. She was forced the “launder” money for her brother due to the choice that has to be made between breaking tax laws or admitting that you actively work in the online gambling industry. In other words, either get put in the slammer for doing something wrong or serve time for working in an industry that is considered a relatively benevolent part of the entertainment industry in large swathes of the world.

Over the pond, former Betfair MD Mark Davies is seeking damages of £4million from the very law firm that represented him when he attempted to sell his shares. The co-founder of the online gambling industry betting exchange instructed Speechly Bircham that him and his wife Miranda wanted to sell the shares of two family trusts that held stakes in Betfair. He was told in October 2010 that he couldn’t sell the shares as they hadn’t been registered properly and it’s here that Davies is challenging his law firm.

Since leaving the company in July 2010, Davies has split his time writing his blog, attending social occasions and being appointed to the board of Probability. When the IPO was on the verge of launching, it was he that questioned whether Bodog had the right to profit by offering odds. Davies was not able to comment on the case and the share price at time of publication was 690.50p (down 2.3% or 16.5p). This case goes to show just how challenging it is to be a public company in the online gambling industry and the fact that the exchange business model as it historically existed is now under formal attack by the old guard who don’t think they should be treated any differently than they are already.

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