Peter Dicks, the Sportingbet, Plc. non-executive chairman, was detained in Queens, N.Y., late Wednesday night. He is being held as a fugitive based on a warrant issued by the state of Louisiana that charges him with illegal Internet gambling.
The 64-year-old was arrested at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday at the John F. Kennedy International Airport. He had arrived on a flight from London during a non-company-related trip when U.S. Customs officials noticed the Louisiana warrant which had been issued in May.
He was taken into custody by the Port Authority police and is scheduled to appear in court at 6:30 p.m. EDT for a hearing to determine whether or not he will be extradited to Louisiana.
The Louisiana charges can carry a punishment of up to five years in prison. Other arrest warrants have also been issued in the case but remain sealed.
In response to the arrest, Sportingbet, Plc., a London-based company which owns Paradise Poker, asked that the London Stock Exchange temporarily suspend trading on its stock until the matter can be cleared up.
This is the second online-gambling related arrest of a company executive this year in the United States. David Carruthers, former Betonsports, Plc. CEO, was arrested in July while on a layover between flights in Texas on his way to Costa Rica.
Carruthers was fired from his CEO position a few days after his arrest. He and 10 others are charged with racketeering, fraud, and conspiracy related to taking sports bets from U.S. customers. They've all pleaded not-guilty.