Online Gambling Executive Pleads Not Guilty

Published Thursday, October 01, 2009 -

The reports David Carruthers, who has spent three years confined to a hotel in St Louis, Missouri, USA has withdrawn his "guilty" plea. This action is presented to the courts only a few days before he was due to be sentenced by the Department of Justice. Carruthers, a native of Edinburgh, Scotland was arrested in the USA on July 16, 2006 on charges related to his role as CEO of BetonSports a company listed on the London AIM stock market. Detained while changing planes at Dallas airport en route to the company's operational base in Costa Rica. This is a case that has drawn much international attention and accusations of abuse of judicial reach. Draconian measures such as this one has given the critics of the prohibition on online gambling in the USA plenty of ammunition.

Mr. Carruthers pleaded guilty under a deal with prosecutors in return for a recommended penalty of '33 months' imprisonment. Other members of his firm, have not changed their pleas. The court took note in an apparently terse legal filing, that "the motion to set aside defendant David Carruthers's guilty plea is granted". A "change of plea" hearing has been set for 14 October. It is thought that his lawyers would have argued that the 52-year-old businessman has effectively served his agreed sentence. Scott Rosenblum, Carruthers lawyer, did not respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for the US attorney's office in St Louis said prosecutors would not discuss the case.

Carruthers has become the focal point of arguments being made to regulate web gambling activities in the USA. The reason for his change of heart is not clear. America's prohibition of betting online has been judged by the World Trade Organisation. It ruled two years ago that the Department of Justice law against online casinos breaches signed international agreements on fair trade.

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