Globe Condemns Arrest of DeSmogBlog Benefactor

Mon, 2007-01-22 11:25Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

Globe Condemns Arrest of DeSmogBlog Benefactor

In this excert from today's editorial , the Globe and Mail condemns the arrest this week of John Lefebvre, a friend, founder and financial supporter of the DeSmogBlog:

The U.S. crackdown on Internet gambling, a crusade that seems to involve arresting law-abiding citizens of other countries and threatening them with long prison terms, continues to claim new victims. The latest are Stephen Lawrence and John Lefebvre, two Canadian businessmen who founded a company called Neteller, which handles payments for online gambling sites.

While the U.S. authorities would like to paint the two as criminal masterminds, the fact is that they have broken no laws in either Canada or Britain, where their company is based. Instead, they have run afoul of the hypocritical U.S. desire to restrict gambling on the Internet while allowing it to flourish at home, where it produces billions of dollars in tourism and tax revenue.

Neteller, which processed an estimated $7-billion (U.S.) in online payments last year, has become a well-respected entity with common shares that are publicly listed on the London Stock Exchange. To the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney's Office, however, the company is “a colossal criminal enterprise masquerading as a legitimate business.”

The two founders, both former Calgary lawyers who started the company in 1999, were arrested on Monday and charged with conspiring to distribute funds “with the intent to promote illegal gambling.” …

The men, neither of whom is currently an officer or director of the company they founded, are only the latest to be arrested. …

The impetus for the arrests was legislation (passed in October) that made online gambling a crime in the United States. Until then, authorities had to rely on a 1961 law that banned “gambling by wire” (the law under which the Betonsports CEO is being held); arrests were rare. Now, executives of online gambling-related companies avoid even changing planes in the United States for fear of being arrested.

In other words, gambling is not only permitted but encouraged when it takes place at a racetrack, lottery office or casino somewhere in the United States, but becomes a heinous crime when it takes place on the Internet. The absurdity of that position makes a mockery of the law the U.S. authorities seem so eager to enforce.

Comments

Whether one agrees with the gambling laws in the US or not, the real point is whether gambling laws were knowingly violated.

Since this issue involving John Lefebvre just became public, it is far too early to comment on whether the charges are valid or ridiculous. However, before any trial, the presumption of innocence must be assumed. Regards,

For someone so bent on free market when it comes to global warming, you sure change your tune when it comes to defending one of the founders of Desmogblog. I’ve noticed none of the denyers have been on trying to use this to discredit DeSmogBlog… probably becuase they would look like a bunch of hypocrites (like you).

To quote the Globe article: In other words, gambling is not only permitted but encouraged when it takes place at a racetrack, lottery office or casino somewhere in the United States, but becomes a heinous crime when it takes place on the Internet. The absurdity of that position makes a mockery of the law the U.S. authorities seem so eager to enforce.

Thank you for your comment anonymous. Maybe some time you will even have the courage to post using your own name.

Are US gambling laws absurd? I have no idea. Is John Lefebvre guilty as charged? I have no idea either. Simply being charged is not the same as guilt, which is why presumption of innocence must be maintained.

That said, the “absurdity” of a law is a poor legal defence. Most laws are considered absurd by varying people, yet that does not legitimize breaking those laws. If one finds a law absurd, then one must work to change it. Regards,

Works for me, Paul. Thanks.
That’s hilarious. Mr. Freedom.

“For someone so bent on free market when it comes to global warming, you sure change your tune when it comes to defending one of the founders of Desmogblog.”
The french government should put in place carbon emission laws and arrest George Bush next time he puts his foot on their soil; and while their at it, maybe Rex Tillerson, president of Exxon.

If the US feels it can impose their protectionist gambling laws on citizens operating legally outside their borders, then other countries should take the same type of attitude at create carbon emission laws they can impose on the United States.
This is similar to that woman that is expecting up to 40 years in prison because of spyware on her school computer. The government sure is a nice thing :)
Doesn’t money laundering fall within the classification of “organized crime”. Highly fitting for global warmers.
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