back to article Swede with UK betting licence held in Amsterdam for 'breaking' ancient French law

France found itself embroiled in the middle of yet another internet gambling controversy Tuesday, after Dutch authorities arrested the CEO of Unibet - a Swedish online gambling provider with a history of run-ins with French authorities - on an outstanding French warrant. Authorities arrested Petter Nylander, a resident of …


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  1. Bear

    m3rd3 alors!!

    Just a small correction: the Ancien Regime was ended by the unfortunate and foolish events of 1789. The laws being used were made by the rather corrupt Third Republic, which ended in 1940.

    In the 1980s and 90s in Australia, people were convicted using mediaeval English laws

  2. Anonymous Coward

    News at 11...

    French state props up French company. My, it's not like that's ever happened before...

    The EU is such a crock of shit. All the member states are expected to deregulate their markets except France, so they can piss over the rest of us by milking an unfair advantage. Napoleon and De Gaulle would be proud.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    France in union with the USA...

    ... with the same attitude to online gambling.

    How come he was not arrested in the UK? Surely if there was a warrant in France they could have made the same request to the UK authorities as they did to those in the Netherlands ?

  4. Bob Jones

    Why not in the UK?

    Because we are a free country without the biased socialist nationalist crap that the French exude ... we would never uphold such politically motivated arrests.

    The EU needs tearing down, or at least kicking the French out ... they force their dispicable companies into Britannia yet play extremely hard to keep Great British companies out of their sess pit of doom ... I'm undecided on Germany, they've been known to do the same.

  5. J

    Sarcasm icon missing, surely

    "Because we are a free country without the biased socialist nationalist crap that the French exude ... we would never uphold such politically motivated arrests."

    Surely it is missing here.

  6. Sceptical Bastard

    Plus ca change...

    ... they've done it with agriculture since the Treaty of Rome in 1957 so it's no surprise to see them doing it with gambling.

    A re-match of Crecy, Agincourt, or Waterloo anyone?

    The EEC / EU was and is an instrument of protectionism to the French and a penance to the Germans (who, in the immortal words of Sir Humphrey Appleby signed the treaty "... to cleanse themselves of genocide and apply for readmission to the human race.")

    To help you decide, Bob Jones, they've also been known to invade Poland and fill its northern forests with extermination camps.

  7. Bob Jones


    J, no sarcasm needed ... Brits have a long standing way of bending over backwards for foreigners, to get screwed and we barely arrest those who broke a real law (and if their foreign, well howdy-dee ... lets give you a house to horde your illegal assets in while threatening to kill us all!) let alone those who broke an ancient law intended to help Great British companies. I ask whenever has the Brit gov in dealing with the EU ever looked out for Britannia's companies?

    Sceptical Bastard, I would have mentioned the War but with foreign EU police now allowed to enforce the(ir) law in Great Britannia, I am in hiding, expect Soviet-style "interrogations" soon. Their past is our future.

  8. James O'Shea

    medieval English laws can be good...

    William Joyce, one of several noxious nazis who broadcast propaganda under the name 'Lord Haw Haw', was _hanged_ in 1946 using the Treason Act of 1351. Somebody _really_ wanted him dead, even if they had to go back 600 years to find a law to do it.

    'Tis a great pity that they couldn't have hanged the whole BUF while they were at it.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    And yet...

    ...they let Flavio Briatore run Renault F1. Is there no justice?

  10. Chris Miller

    How the EU works

    1. The Germans make the rules.

    2. The British obey the rules.

    3. The French ignore the rules.

    4. And the Italians, Spanish and Greeks don't even know there are supposed to be any rules.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely this is good for Unibet

    If they don't get prosecuted and convicted then how can they appeal? The EU courts can't get involved until the appeals process within a country has been exhausted. Once they do get involved France will find that warrants get totally ignored by other EU countries which will force a change in law.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Bob Jones

    Two words:

    McKinnon, Gary

  13. Jeff Deacon
    Thumb Up

    Re: Plus ca change...

    Sceptic, I think you have it in one!

    Of course the French will continue to feather their own nest at the expense of anyone else they can hoodwink into doing so. Those who think otherwise are fools or Europhiles (not that there is any great difference between those two categories!)

  14. hans-peter carpenter

    cut the BS

    I know the Brits usually like to pick on France, the EU and occasionally Germany with absurd remarks .... Every country is implementing European legislation and France is no exception to this rule! They will comply, if they like it or not, and they will loose this legal battle and they know it! A lot of markets are open in France and Germany to all European companies ... ever heard of Virgin Mobile? Yes, they are in France as well ...

    Had Rover been French, in France, I think the state would have invested to keep it alive and save a few thousand jobs, it's true, I believe the guyz on the dole now, who are costing quite a lot of money to the community, would have appreciated.

    Calling the French Socialists is funny, go read some books, do some research and come back when you're done please, stop using complicated words you do not understand! Oh, when researching the word socialist, avoid British and American websites, because they tend to get it wrong, too.

    @By Anonymous Coward from news @11

    What are you talking about? Who wanted their money back, who is paying significantly less than Germany or France towards the union while still getting its share in aid????? cut you bs, please!

    @Bob Jones

    Yes, indeed, the UK is a free country, especially when protecting the "Friend of the state" Mr Pinochet (please use google if you don't know who that is)! That was the reason I was thinking about shredding my British Passport and sending it back to where it belongs ...

    To be fair, France has, like any other country, its disadvantages, and I can not stand the fact that these guyz have to strike all the time. They understand and sometimes even speak English, but never try, I hate that!

  15. Roger Hughes

    Ignoring the usual Europhobe nonsense...

    There are exemptions from the single market legislation (which would normally mean that anything that you can do in one bit of the EU you can do in another) on the grounds of the protection of public health and morality, which the French have claimed allows them to limit gambling provision to PMU and FDJ, but the Commission is adamant that if that if it is a matter of public morality then the French monopolies should not be being advertised either. This looks likely to get the Commission lumbering into action on the matter.

    As it stands, FDJ have been long-standing sponsors in cycling and PMU is the main sponsor for the green jersey competition in the Tour de France, which is where this whole affair started, largely as the by-product of another more localised power struggle, between the would-be monopolist ASO (the organisers of the Tour de France and most other bike races you may have heard of in France and Belgium), who basically want to run the entire sport for their own business ends, and the UCI, the more or less democratic international cycling federation, who wanted to include the Tour in its ProTour competition which would inter alia allow them to dictate which teams were allowed to ride. The lowest ranked and newest ProTour team was none other than that sponsored by Unibet (which had been around for a few years under its previous sponsor, and allowed to ride without any objection in lower level races all over France and elsewhere), and ASO pulled this law out of the bag in an attempt (apparently successful) to scupper the ProTour by preventing a lawfully registered team from riding any of its races (even those outside France).

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ah yes, it seems that some of the commentators here are surely the ones who put the 'Great' into 'Great Britain'.

  17. Edward Rose

    I'll never forgive them the sheep.

    Mind you, I fully applaud the French government. You have a government which seems to be fully behind the people of the country. If only we had that.

    It's the EU that I have an issue with. They are the people who should step in and regulate this. The question as to why they don't only brings up very suspicious circumstances.

    Unfortunately Agincourt wouldn't work this time around. We'd be banned from using weapons by the EU as they may breach human rights. The French would slaughter us with whatever they wanted.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    I am always surprised by the virulent anti-French, anti-German and anti-Europe comments regularly cropping up on El Reg.

    I mean, have any of you actually been there for anything other than a booze cruise? These are different cultures, with different ways of doing things. I should know, I'm French and I live in UK, and when I deal here with public transport/ISP providers/utilities, it sometimes feels like the third world, especially compared to Germany!

    I'm especially surprised by the people who want to kick France out of the EU, remember who the founding countries were? Of course the French are trying to use the EU to their advantage, so do the government of every single other EU member, UK included! Remember that you were never forced to join in in, but then maybe you wouldn't have all those cheap Polish plumbers.

    I would agree that EU politics are a shamble, that it is rife with big-biz corruption and cost a ridiculous amount of money. But look at the upside: no war between member nations for 60 years! That's unprecedented in European history for the past 1000 years, and I think just that makes it worth putting up with.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    New icon please

    for the usual English xenophobia.

    nb: I'm English, before the flame war starts...

  20. Christoph Hechl
    Thumb Up

    @ Bob Jones

    I can only assume, that you are being ironic.

    What was the name of that alleged hacker again who was to be extadicted to the US under more than vague claims and a very serious threat to his life?

    And of course it shows a good sense of humour when a Briton actually claims to be European. (kicking out others is allway a good way of demonstrating that)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EU arrest warrants a disaster

    As I recall, being *legal in this country* is not a defence against extradition under an EU arrest warrant. So just because he can say it's legal, doesn't mean he won't get shipped off to France.

    EU kind of sucks right now, there are lots of half implemented freedoms and a load of laws that can be applied to foreigners, so you get the general hatred for foreigners combined with an expedited warrant, combined with politicians playing to the people who elect them by going after people who don't elect them.

    France in this case, Britain wants to deport foreign EU nationals and so on.

    A strong EU Commission is really needed to protect one nations citizens from other nations politicians, but we've got kind of a weak woolly Commission at the moment, trying to make friends after the failure of the constitution.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    plus ca meme chose

    It's a game played for national interests. Why did we go into it?

    - To strengthen the free Western nations.

    We went in to screw the French by splitting them from the Germans.

    - Why did the French go in?

    To protect their farmers from competition.

    - And the Germans?

    To cleanse themselves of genocide and apply for re-admission to the human race

    - Well, at least the small nations didn't join for selfish reasons.

    Really? Luxembourg is in it for the perks. The EEC capital, all that foreign money pouring in.

    - A sensible central location.

    With the administration in Brussels and the Parliament in Strasbourg? Minister! It's like having the Commons in Swindon and the Civil Service in Kettering!

    You know what they say the average Common Market official ?

    He has the organising ability of the Italians, the flexibility of the Germans,

    the modesty of the French, the imagination of the Belgians, the generosity of the Dutch

    and the intelligence of the Irish!

  23. Anonymous Coward

    France The judas of europe foor hundreds of years

    Is not this just some typical French action. As it has been since Ludvig xiv? The one who wanted to make himself the sovereign over all Europe and who made the Turkish march to Vienna to help him out in his arrogant plans to conquer all of Europe? Is it not in time France were told their place in the community, say that is if they still want to be a part of it? For how long should we tolerate the French arrogance? Not any further i think. They have to take a step back and realize that the are nothing more than a member of a community and not the masters of the world they certainly do think they are. As such they should respect others and be a lot more humble than they are nowadays. To the best of the EU i think we were better off without them. There are two things i cannot stand.. one is the smell of arrogance the second is stupidity. Stupid arrogance has been the trademark of the French for hundreds of years. Its time to come to terms with it. Holland and England did stop them with Ludvig xiv. Later Napoleon. There are no reason to let them "rule" by arrogance any longer. Let them get to understand that they are nothing more than an equal member and not the sovereigns.

  24. Andy Silver badge

    Xenophobic rubbish

    What's the matter, commenters, Daily Mail site down?

    For your information, the British state also retains a monopoly over its national lottery, pretty much the same thing as the French Société Française des Jeux. It's a tax on stupidity in any language, so probably best run by government.

  25. Cameron Colley

    Bang goes that idea!

    Well, I had thought The Netherlands to be a free country worth considering as somewhere to emigrate to. Now I see that they're just as willing as the UK to pander to foreign governments and, even more worryingly, foreign governments acting for marketing companies (OK, technically industry lobbying groups).

  26. Ross

    Fairly straightforward

    Fairly straightforward this one. If you allow a national business to do something you are required by law to allow other EU companies to do the same. You can only apply the moral standards defence if *everyone* is banned from doing something in your country.

    So, for example it is legal to bet on horses in the UK but not to advertise it on the tele, so any EU based company that has the licenses can operate a horse betting shop in the UK, but not advertise on the tele.

    Conversely it is legal to sell hard core porn in the Netherlands, but you still can't sell it here in Blighty 'cause *nobody* is allowed to, so we can operate the moral defence.

    Basically any form of protectionism is illegal. You either let everyone do something or nobody. The French in this instance do not appear to be obeying the rules. That could actually get rather expensive for them as you can apply for compensation, and if you are slow changing your laws after you have been told to they tend to get annoyed and award lots of it.

    It's not limited to the French - the Germans have been done for trying to make it illegal to sell non-German beer in Germany, the Irish got done for trying to stop people selling cheap imported tourist tat, and the UK got done a few times. We won the pork pie argument tho :)

  27. Laurent_Z

    Well, as the Flame War is already launched...

    Hi all, and a special thank you to Bob and Anon Ymous.

    Concentration camps where invented by the british in south africa. Sad, but true. Deal with it or take a german nationality card.

    the UK joined the EU. Not Britain. Everybody knows it's because their american masters needed someone to be present at the "secret reunions", and who better than their lap-dog for that ? Also, I remarked that anytime almost everyone agreed on something in the EU, you would find the brits on the side making disapparaging, sniggering remarks.

    To the one speaking about Arrogance and LOUIS XIV (and not Ludwig, notwhithstanding your bastardizing German Saxon Upbringing) I think I'll wait till you trashed yourself with the Clue-Bat-History Book (Indian Company. The Empire that never Slept ! "Yes Minister" !) before taking my turn.

    Now for the rest of the (mostly) sane posters, thank you for reminding me that all Englishmen had not yet attained the American IQ Level.

    now, as FOTW has some rules :



  28. Steve Browne

    Vive La France

    Good luck to the French.

    HM Gov would be far better off studying and learning from them how the french manage their relationship with the EU. Maybe we would get somewhere. We actually have more in common with our french cousins than we may like to admit, just that hey are more likely to take action that sit around and wingeing about it.

    The guy was given an opportunity to appear in front of a judge to present his case, he declined, then, like everyone else, was coerced into appearing to explain himself by way of an arrest warrant. Now, he will have his opportunity to explain to the judge and I am sure will be dealt with appropriately.

    The EU has been a great institution, yes there is corruption which really needs to be dealt with, but it has done great things for Britain. It exposed the beef scandal of BSE and forced HM Gov to come clean, no one else could have done this. It has imposed a standard of behaviour on governments, by way of ECHR. It really does try to protect consumers and stands up to the US. Keeping the peace in Europe for 60 years has to be the greatest triumph.

  29. umacf24

    re: France The judas of europe foor hundreds of years

    Why is aManFromMars posting anonymously?

  30. Chris Miller

    @EU fanboys

    Naturally anyone who dares to criticise the idiocies of the EU must be a xenophobic, Mail-reading cretin. For the record, I've worked in seven EU countries, I'm fluent in French and can get by in Spanish, German and Italian, and I voted for the UK to join the European Economic Community (remember that?). Europe has gained enormous benefits from the world's largest free trade zone and the (relatively) free movement of populations across borders. But that doesn't mean we must swallow whole the undemocratic ratcheting of an economic union into the United States of Europe or refrain from criticism of the aforementioned idiocies.

    To take the most obvious lunacy, I give you the Common Agricultural Policy. The undeclared aim of which is to support hopelessly inefficient French smallholders, in order to retain the character of the (delightful) French countryside. Nothing wrong with that (although you could argue that perhaps the French should bear a greater proportion of the costs), but there's no reason why this has to be done in a way that pumps millions of euros every year into the pockets of large-scale farmers (many of them in the UK - take a look at the accounts of Tate & Lyle if you want to see this in action). Even worse, the CAP does this in such a way as to destroy the livelihood of millions of small-scale farmers in the third world by operation of its disgraceful protectionist measures.

    Oh, and as for the argument that the EU may be corrupt and inefficient, but at least it's given us 50 years of peace - I'm sure the only reason the German army isn't marching down the Champs Elysée (again) is the fear that they might be subject to a new directive from Brussels. I don't suppose for a minute that the tens of thousands of US (and British) troops stationed there had anything to do with it.


  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here, Rover

    "Had Rover been French, in France, I think the state would have invested to keep it alive and save a few thousand jobs, it's true, I believe the guyz on the dole now, who are costing quite a lot of money to the community, would have appreciated."

    I worked for Rover Triumph/British Leyland/Austin Rover in the 1970s, when the government was attempting to prop it up with public money. During this era the reputations of the good brands - Rover, Triumph and Jaguar - were completely destroyed, while the Austin/Morris side produced a list of turkeys that must have made the management of other manufacturers dance with joy. Had it been killed off then, at least it wouldn't have sucked more people into the illusion of long term employment. The present government had the opportunity to at least salvage the MG sports car, which might have been viable, but instead chose to believe the fantasy that it could all be kept going, with predictable results.

  32. Jason

    We still haven't nuked them?!?!

    I'm astounded....

  33. Dax Farrer

    My God

    What a lot of xenophobic middle englanders. Get you to the Mail and be gone from these pages.

    Again, even more proof that a knowledge of ASP does not make one any great shakes in politics. Geeks, stick to twiddling your iPhones and stealing from the creative classes, cos that is what you are good at.

  34. James O'Shea

    nuke em?

    Nukes are too expensive. The current plan is to dispatch the Grimsby fishing fleet to Calais and wait for the wind to change. That should clear things out all the way to the Swiss border. And it'll make Iceland happy, as then they'll be able to supply 100% of the fish instead of only 90%.

  35. Law


    I don't understand where the hatred comes from?! lol... all governments are idiots, put in power for the benefit of their own country. So to that end, they will try and keep hold of monopolies, try and pull fast ones, and basically fight tooth-and-nail for their own gains. Maybe our own politians should take note of France's ability to look out for itself and start telling companies to stfu or get out of the UK (M$, Apple, MusicBiz, any rip-off-britain company)

    And the IT angle... well... maybe it is this: That even supposedly educated geeky arseholes (who read El-Reg) can be racist opinionated retards and still managed to maintain root access to company servers! :)

  36. Laurie

    @ Laurent_Z

    Not this old chestnut again!

    The British didn't invent the concentration camp. Kitchener borrowed the idea from the Spanish re-concentration camps used in Cuba during the war of 1895-1898. They were invented by General Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau. A charming chap whose nick-name was "The Butcher".

    Any one told to move to the camps and who didn't within eight days was considered an enemy and executed.

  37. John A Blackley


    The comments page makes much better reading than any El Reg article! I enjoy the various, considered and ill-considered comments, half-hearted and half-thought-out insults and contested 'facts'. Reminds me of The Beano without the drawings (sort-of).

    For what it's worth (and I acknowledge that's not much) it seems to me that many of the anti-French comments are born out of jealousy. By protecting their government's and businesses' interests, the French simply play the great game better than the Britsh do - and, let's face it, few things irritate a Brit more than being bested at politics by the French.

  38. Laurent_Z


    Sorry, I forgot the "/flame" 8)


    No contest on the rest ?



  39. Chris Miller


    Actually, the French political classes are perpetually infuriated at being out-manoeuvred in Europe by the Brits (now 'ganging up' on them with the new entrants from the former Soviet block). Their rejection by referendum of the proposed EU 'constitution' (now being snuck in by the anti-democratic back door) was based on the perception that it was all an Anglo-Saxon plot.

    I highly recommend a read of "La France qui tombe" by Nicolas Bavarez. Sarko seems to have based most of his policies on it.

  40. Laurie


    "No contest on the rest ?"

    I'm not into flaming, I only wanted to correct the history mate.

    Anyway, I'm not too sure that I actually understand the rest!

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