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Dec 23, 2009

Israeli gambling site uses Belize as pawn in web of deceit

Story PictureInternational scams have reached Belize in a variety of forms from money orders to phantom universities. In the most recent known case, Belize is being tarnished in a scam that is part fact and part fiction. A transnational internet gambling ring that stretched across the globe has included Belize as a part of its web of deceit for almost a decade. The mastermind of the operation are two Israeli brothers, Idan and Shai Raviv. The scam was allegedly housed in a luxury villa in Belize; and Idan is suspected of running it from his home in England. The truth of the matter was that the servers that netted millions of dollars in profit were located in another European country and the other brother, Shai carried out the collection duties in Tel Aviv, Israel. Following an undercover probe, the Israeli Anti-fraud Unit, and the anti gambling force arrested five men suspected of being involved in the gambling network. Idan and Shai were brought before a Rishon Lezion court on Tuesday afternoon where their remand was extended by three days. On Friday they will be released on house arrest. News Five’s Jose Sanchez followed the story and separated the truth from the web of deceit spun by the Raviv brothers.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting’s the website claimed the operation was housed in Belize. A check of states that the website was created on the eighteenth of June 2000 and its I.P. location, where its computers are stored, is in Estonia, a nation in Europe. If you click on the link for the gambling website, it will say “This Site Currently Unavailable.” But archives stored on the internet showed that users could place bets on various sports around the world including soccer, American football, baseball, boxing, tennis and hockey. Casino games such as poker were also offered with online dealers that could be seen through a live video link. Wagers were collected using credit cards with the funds flowing directly into bank accounts held by Idan and Shai Raviv. The ‘frequently asked questions’ page, highlights whether or not the operation is legal. The answer is “The Belize Gaming Commission has granted us a license to operate as an online bookmaker.” The terms of agreement also states that “Net Games Inc., an International Business Corporation incorporated under the laws of Belize, is fully licensed and regulated by the laws of that country. The warning page maintains that the sites are registered in Belize and are fully licensed to operate under the laws of Belize. But it seems that the connection with Belize and all associations were made up. According to Lincoln Blake of the Ministry of Economic Development, not only have they not issued a license to the gaming operation, they have never heard of the Raviv brothers.

Via Phone: Lincoln Blake, Ministry of Economic Development
“No it’s the first time I hear about that company. It’s not licensed under the laws of Belize. The Government of Belize recently discovered that several online gaming websites are claiming to have licenses in Belize. We want to adives the internet community and the general public that there are only two with license to operate from Belize. These are Fulton Data Processing Limited and Sports Offshore Limited. Any other company that claims to have such a license from Belize is clandestine. We ask all internet users to refrain from doing business with these. All online gaming businesses in Belize are required under the Gaming Control Act and its online gaming regulations, to apply for a license. They must follow strict requirements and they must have a proven track record in gaming. The other companies that from time to time, operating online and claiming to have license, sometimes it’s hard to find out who are the persons behind these operations. But what we try to do in 2007, what we did is to take out a public advisory and now we’re doing it again in 2009 because from time to time these clandestine websites do come up and try to do something about it.”

The gambling operation targeted Israeli’s and several players in that country were also arrested. In Belize, the ministry of economic development says that licenses have been given to only two groups, Fulton Data Processing Limited and Sports Offshore Limited.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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