A former affiliate manager for Nordic online gambling operator Betsson AB has been charged with stealing €153k from the company through the use of fraudulent commissions.
This week, Christiaan Alexander Van Dalen appeared in a court in Malta, where he pleaded not guilty to seven charges, including fraud, money laundering and computer-related offences. Magistrate Charmaine Galea ordered Van Dalen to be held without bail pending further hearings.
The court was told that Van Dalen worked as an affiliate manager for Betsson, which bases its global headquarters in Malta. Betsson has accused Van Dalen, a Dutch national residing in Malta, of ‘retagging’ certain high-value Betsson customers as his own affiliate clients, thereby entitling him to a percentage of these customers’ betting losses.
The court heard that Van Dalen diverted around €35k of the allegedly purloined funds into Philippines bank accounts held by his wife. The whereabouts of the rest of the stolen cash is currently unknown, although prosecutors believe some of it was used to purchase property in the Philippines.
Malta Today reported that prosecutors asked the court to freeze all of Van Dalen’s assets – including his wife’s accounts – while the investigation continued. Van Dalen’s attorney Joseph Ellis argued that this request was improper given that the wife hadn’t been charged with any crime.
The court disagreed, saying it was clear that Van Dalen had control over his wife’s assets. All but €13k of Van Dalen’s funds were ordered frozen and Van Dalen was prohibited from transferring ownership or disposing of any property. The court also instructed Van Dalen’s jailors to ensure he had no access to any information technology facilities while in custody to prevent him from tampering with the evidence.
Some other Betsson affiliates have taken to forums wondering if Van Dalen’s antics might explain why some of the big bettors they’d sent Betsson’s way had mysteriously disappeared in the past year, A Betsson staffer reportedly told one affiliate that Betsson management was adamant that other affiliates hadn’t been affected by Van Dalen’s alleged bad behavior, but not everyone is convinced.