Platinum Sportsbook Arrests

Two more arrests made, warrants out for three others.

The Canadian enforcement authorities continued their activities against the Costa Rica-based Platinum Sportsbook this week with a third round of raids and arrests in Canada that saw Michael Kriaris (39) of Toronto and 43-year-old Augustino Valenzisi of Vaughan detained, and warrants issued for the apprehension of three other men identified as Abraham Diles (47), Jeffrey Fuchs (35), Hiesam Kadri (41).

The action Wednesday by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, which includes the Mounties, are the latest in a series of raids, including a major bust on a Super Bowl Sunday gambling party in Toronto (see previous InfoPowa reports).
Both men arrested Wednesday were charged with committing a criminal offense for the benefit of a criminal organization and conspiracy to commit the offense of engaging in bookmaking, police said in a press release. Kriaris also faces a charge of instructing a person to commit an indictable offense.

The same charges are embraced in the warrants of arrest issued on Diles, Fuchs and Kadri, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation noted.

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit has conducted a further ten raids since the Super Bowl action, mostly in the Toronto area as investigations progress. More than 20 suspects have so far been charged and several million dollars in cash seized, along with documentary evidence.

The officer commanding of the CFSEU, Superintendent Keith Finn, said Wednesday. The arrests today are the third phase of the investigation into illegal gaming and Platinum Sportsbook. The timing of these arrests was planned to meet the specific strategic and operational needs of the investigation.

We will continue to monitor the use of illegal gambling websites.

Despite the Canadian disruption, Platinum Sportsbook continues to operate under a new .tk domain.

Background on the Raid by Canadian Authorities

Platinum SB, an online sports-book and casino, alleged to be the organizer of the gambling event.

The Canadian media are widely reporting on a major police raid that featured armed SWAT-like officers halting an alleged internet sports betting party in Toronto over the weekend.

The gathering at a Markham banquet hall Sunday night was apparently attended by thousands of Canadians enjoying the Super Bowl broadcast through large-screen television and allegedly placing bets through the organizer’s website, Platinum SB.

Platinum SB’s website has been shut down by police, bearing a note Sunday night that stated, The web site you are trying to access has been restrained by a court order granted to the Attorney General of Ontario with the assistance of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU).

The party was in full swing when a large number of policemen arrived, including officers from a tactical unit, in full gear, with helmets, black balaclavas, body armor, and automatic weapons. Several officers were posted at each entrance and police vans waited outside.

The officers produced a search warrant and advised the crowds through loudspeakers that the party was being shut down for suspected illegal online sports betting offenses. The television coverage was switched off, and the crowd began to disperse, with isolated incidents in which several people were reportedly arrested.

A spokesman for the York regional police, Constable Blair McQuillan, later advised reporters that the raid was conducted by a joint police task force on an enterprise that handled millions of dollars in bets.

Photos posted on Twitter of tickets to the event indicated it was organized by Platinum SB, a sports online betting site.

One witness told reporters that there were three to four thousand people in attendance at the invitation-only party, watching the game on giant screens and waiting for dinner.

Shortly after the first quarter, all the cops came in, the witness said. They shut down the bar, went through the crowd, stopped at some tables and read a warrant with a megaphone.

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU), a formation dedicated to combating organized crime, said in a news release that the investigation revealed the illegal gaming enterprise was allegedly run by organized crime groups.