Manfred Bodner and Norbert Teufelberger, the co-chief executives of online betting company Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG, were arrested Friday in France for allegedly violating gaming laws that forbid online gaming and advertisements from companies other than the state-run gaming company Francaise des Jeux.
The two execs were arrested at the Association Sportive de Monaco training center before their scheduled news conference regarding their sponsorship of the football club. They were held overnight in Nice, and will go before a judge this week.
Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG, formerly known as BetandWin.com Interactive Entertainment AG, is mainly a sports booking company, but in March they acquired Ongame e-solutions, which focuses on online poker and operates PokerRoom.com and EuroPoker.com.
A spokesperson for Bwin released a statement to the Austria Press Agency saying the two men considered the arrest mental and physical torture, and the company had contacted lawyers and human rights experts to take action because of the arrests.
They also plan to start a breach of treaty proceeding about the matter at the European Commission.
The arrest coincidentally happened the same day Bavaria joined the states of Saxony and Hesse in barring Bwin from doing business in Germany.
The Bavarian government said in a statement sports bets are illegal in the state if they're not organized by the Bavarian State Lottery Administration.
The detention of Bodner and Teufelberger follows the recent arrest of Peter Dicks, former Sportingbet, Plc. chairman, and the July arrest of David Carruthers, former BetonSports, Plc. chief executive, in the United States.