No representation was present Friday for BetonSports Plc. which was scheduled for arraignment in a U.S. court for violating U.S. gambling laws. By not appearing or having a lawyer appear for them, the company could face sanctions by the court.
BetonSports, which had recently settled a civil case in the U.S., instructed its attorney, Jeffrey Demerath, not to go to the arraignment for criminal charges. Demereth messaged the government that his client told him not to appear.
According to legal experts, the company could be held in contempt for not showing and be fined for every day it doesn't show up.
Not appearing won't necessarily prevent the trial from continuing either. The judge could order that the company be tried in absentia, even though it would mean they are tried without any defense.
The company along with its founder Gary Kaplan, former CEO David Carruthers, and other people connected to the business are being charged with racketeering in connection with illegal online sports betting.
Kaplan hasn't been arrested to face charges yet, but Carruthers was picked up at a Dallas area airport and put under arrest last summer. He and the other defendants arrested so far have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Those individual defendants have asked that the criminal charges against them be dismissed because they violate a World Trade Organization treaty.
In a court filing, Attorney Alan Ross, who represents one of the direct-mail marketers arrested in the case, said that the cross-border supply of gambling and betting services from BetonSports is a service the country committed to not prohibit when it joined the WTO.
The WTO has previously ruled that the U.S. laws against online gambling don't comply with WTO policies. The organization is currently looking into the situation again as the U.S. has refused to comply saying it believes it is in compliance.
The next court appearance scheduled for the case against BetonSports and the other defendants will be an evidentiary hearing Jan. 22.
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