Gibraltars Offshore gambling sites on the Internet have revolutionized the sports betting industry

Gibraltars Offshore gambling sites on the Internet have revolutionized the sports betting industry. The offshore betting sites compete for the bettors’ money, and are constantly improving consumer services

Thursday, 25 August 2011

A leading Spanish union has threatened to call a general strike in La Linea over unpaid municipal salaries.

Council workers are owed millions in overdue salaries and although they received a partial payment last week, life for many of them is tough.

La Linea’s council is verging on bankruptcy and new sources of revenue are scant despite the best efforts of recently-elected PSOE mayor, Gemma Araujo.

“This situation is unbearable,” said Jesús Gonzalez Aragón, Campo secretary for leading national union CCOO. “The workers cannot take this any more.”

“Next week we’ll have to add August to the list of unpaid months and there is no expectation of any solution in the short term.”

“In CCOO we are willing to call the workers to an assembly to take a vote on a general strike.”

Union leaders and a handful of workers have held daily vigils outside the Palacio de Congresos, where the council is temporarily housed.

They march toward the border and interrupt the flow of traffic in largely symbolic – the queue barely moves in the meantime – attempts to maintain pressure on the council to pay.

A general strike would represent a sharp escalation in the union’s tactics.

News of the strike threat drew a measured, but tough response from the council.

In a statement, La Linea’s council asked for patience from the workers and reminded them that they had been paid nearly E2.3m in the two months since Sra Araujo and her team took over the council from the Popular Party.

It also said that efforts were being made to finalise a second payment in the coming days.

“We understand that the workers are demanding the payment of their salaries, but at the same time they must recognise that we are meeting their demands despite the chaotic situation that we have here,” the council statement said. “This situation we have inherited from the previous PP council.”

“We’re trying to resolve it but it will take some time.”

Sra Araujo has announced plans for a deep reform of the council workforce, cutting both jobs and salaries in order to reduce an annual salary bill that nears E25m.

A GANG of five stole a Gibraltar man’s belongings and car in La Linea.

Three women allegedly set a trap for him which enabled two men to threaten him at knife-point, according to Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP). The man was driving alone to Gibraltar from Alcaidesa via Carrefour and the road through the Junquillos, which joins the border road, in the early hours of the morning

The three women jumped into the road, forcing him to stop his car, according to the victim. “They distracted him further whilst two men got in to his unlocked car and was threatened at knife point,” the police said in a statement. “He was then robbed of all his belongings and even his car.”

The incident has been reported to Spain’s National Police, which is liaising with both the victim’s family and the RGP. As a result of this incident, RGP have issued a warning about distraction tactics used by criminals to set up their victims. “The RGP advises the general public to remain aware of these hideous types of crimes and of the distraction techniques employed by these criminals,” it said in a statement.

“Keep your car doors locked at all times, even when you are driving, and do not get distracted to expose yourself to these crimes. Drive straight to the nearest police station to report the matter if you feel you are being targeted.”

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Jungleman Poker Cheating Scandal Doesn´t Change a Thing

The recent online poker cheating scandal revolving around Jose Macedo,  Haseeb Qureshi and Dan “Jungleman12” Cates has fired up a great deal of passionate debate on various poker forums and poker news sites.

Many of the “noveau righteous” are throwing their hands up in the air and proclaiming that this scandal will be the catalyst to hijack online poker legislation in the US,  the more experienced in the industry are trying to play down the hysteria, stating that the “Jungleman12” poker cheating scandal doesn´t change a thing. And, of course, every cloud has a silver lining.

What is All the Fuss About?

For anybody who has missed the story, Jose Macedo was a pretty decent young Portuguese poker player. Unfortunately, he got involved with Haseeb Qureshi – a poker instructor with – and by association Dan “Jungleman12” Cates. By opening up multiple accounts on the Lock Poker site, the three were able to manipulate the accounts by chip dumping to look as if they were being played by wealthy “fish” (bad poker players). Macedo conned several players he was coaching into playing against these fake accounts and scammed them out of $30,000 (which Jose has now repaid).

The Jungleman Connection

On the face of it, Dan Cates is a highly successful online poker player – having won millions on Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars in the last couple of years. Unable to play from the United States and having his entry into Canada delayed, Cates used some of the bogus European accounts to win money from Lock Poker clients who believed (guided by their poker software this time) that they were playing a regularly losing player rather than one of the world´s most successful high stakes players. Qureshi also used these accounts – claiming that chip dumping (purposely losing vast sums of cash) was a way of funding Macedo´s real account when other forms of financial transfers were unavailable or too slow.

They Cheated and They Got Caught

The bottom line is that they cheated and got caught. However, considering the poker environment that the two main protagonists were brought up in (Qureshi and Cates), it should not come as too much of a surprise that something like this happened. Qureshi joined Cardrunners in 2008 as a poker instructor about the same time as the Brian Townsend scandal broke (In March 2008 and again in December 2009 Townsend – a poker instructor – was found guilty of multi-accounting and collusion on Full Tilt Poker which resulted in a $4.2 million scam against Victor Blom).

Multi-Accounting Was The Norm

Cates played most of his poker on Full Tilt Poker, where selected professions regularly had multiple accounts to hide their identities and suck in the unsuspecting poker player. Although Cates denies this activity on his FTP and PokerStars accounts, he admitted he engaged in this practise on other poker sites – including in collusion with Macedo and Qureshi on Lock Poker. Unfortunately, when you are nurtured by a site which allows players to frequently ignore its own terms of service, this becomes acceptable behaviour (and is just one of the reasons why Full Tilt Poker should never get its licence back). Although it is no excuse for their cheating, the three characters in this saga are very young (Macedo 18/Cates still only 21) and impressionable.

Why It Changes Nothing

There have been many more high(er) profile cheating scams than this in the past and internet poker still exists. The full facts of alleged wrong-doing at Full Tilt Poker (when the company – it is claimed – funded the accounts of their professionals after a losing streak) may never come to light, but the super-user scandals at UB and Absolute Poker never stopped people from playing there in 2006 until the feds shut the site in 2011. Sorel Mizzi and Justin Bonomo still have superstar status in the poker world even though both have been caught cheating by having multiple accounts on PokerStars and Party Poker.

The Silver Lining

All the time that social media users and members of poker forums are monitoring the activities of the online poker players and the sites to which they belong there will be exposés such as this. In the end two young kids and a poker-playing crook got caught cheating and lying about it. The sky is not falling in on online poker and the silver lining attached to the cloud of this scandal is that online players will become more vigilant, hopefully reducing the frequency with which cheating occurs. And where is the harm in that?


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The businessman accused of murdering his new wife on their honeymoon can be extradited to South Africa to stand trial

The businessman accused of murdering his new wife on their honeymoon can be extradited to South Africa to stand trial, a judge ruled today.

Shrien Dewani, 31, denies any involvement in the death of Anni Dewani, who was shot dead in a taxi in Cape Town last November in an apparent car-jacking.

Her widower, who is accused of ordering the attack, has fought extradition proceedings, saying he is suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

District Judge Howard Riddle, handing down the judgment at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in south-east London, said there was a "strong public interest" in Dewani being extradited, however.

He said he had "no doubt" Dewani is at high risk of suicide or self-harm, but that he believed he would receive appropriate mental health care at the hands of the South African authorities.

Judge Riddle said Dewani, whom he described as "good-looking, youthful and physically well-preserved", would be particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse, adding: "There has been some suggestion that he may be gay."

But he added that he was satisfied that Dewani, a care home owner from Bristol, would be held in a prison with a good level of facilities and be kept in a single cell.

Dewani, who has been staying at a secure mental health hospital in Bristol, sat in the dock wearing a dark blue sweatshirt and black trousers and stared straight ahead at the judge throughout the hearing. Members of his family were present to hear the decision.

The newlyweds were being chauffeured through the dangerous township of Gugulethu when their taxi was hijacked on November 13. Dewani was ejected while his wife was driven off and shot dead. Her body was found the next morning in the back of the abandoned cab.

Taxi driver Zola Tongo, who has admitted his part in the crime, claimed in a plea agreement with prosecutors that Dewani ordered the car-jacking and paid for a hit on his wife.

Anni's relatives were praised by the judge for their "quiet dignity" throughout the months of court proceedings.

Speaking outside court, her father Vinod Hindocha, who was accompanied by wife Nilam, thanked the judge for the "fair" decision and said the day was not about Dewani but "about my beautiful daughter Anni, not forgetting her".

He added: "I'm sure she'd be very, very happy today to hear the decision.

"I wish Shrien a very speedy recovery so he can now put his head down and help the police and clear his name."

Dewani faces charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and obstructing the administration of justice.

The judge said it should now be for the South African courts to decide if he is guilty.

"Either Mr Dewani arranged for his new bride to be brutally murdered or he himself has been the victim of a terrible tragedy," he added.

The application to extradite Dewani will now be passed to Home Secretary Theresa May for her to make the final decision.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Spaniard seriously hurt in Gibraltar fuel tanks explosion has died

A Spanish dock worker who suffered serious burns in the fire which broke out on Gibraltar at the end of May when two fuel tanks exploded at the port died in hospital this Wednesday. The 40 year old from La Línea de la Concepción was under treatment at the burns unit of the Virgen del Rocío Hospital in Sevilla, with burns to 70% of his body.

The news of his death was confirmed to Europa Press by sources close to the family.

A colleague who was working with him at the time was also hurt and 12 cruise ship passengers on the Independence of the Seas, which was moored nearby, suffered minor injuries.

The fire was extinguished at 5am the following day


Friday, 5 August 2011

Protestors set fire to tires, block access to Gibraltar

Council employees in the border town of La Linea, who haven´t been paid since April, blocked access to Gibraltar for 30 minutes in a protest which involved burning tyres. They say they have run out of ways to get their plight noticed.

It's hard to imagine, isn't it. We think the funcionarios have a cushy job for life, and all our concern goes to the unemployed. But all over the country there are people in the same situation. Many local authorities are on the verge of bankruptcy, and the interest on their borrowing has to be paid before the wages of their staff.

Not to mention all the businesses and their employees who have done work for the ayuntamiento and not been paid.

The town halls run out of money because their budgets are based on predicted tax revenues from previous years, which for various reasons don't materialise; businesses going broke, properties remaining unsold, individuals unable to pay their IBI, etc. They are then stuck with spending commitments they can't pay for.

Why are they so bad at managing their budgets? Because unlike local councils in the UK which have a large permanent staff of accountants and financial experts to advise the elected councillors, here the work is largely done by the Mayor and the elected councillors themselves, who often lack the necessary skills to run what is essentially a large corporation.

There has to be a better way.

Monday, 1 August 2011

two kilos of cocaine is being consumed in Gibraltar every month

two kilos of cocaine is being consumed in Gibraltar every month, according to estimates by the Royal Gibraltar Police.

The figure is based on analysis of drug seizures and intelligence gathered during anti-drug operations and routine police work.

The amount is modest compared to drug consumption levels in other jurisdictions.

But it will nonetheless prove shocking for the majority of people in the community, who have no direct contact with the drugs underworld.

The figure was revealed by RGP Commissioner Louis Wink during a frank interview with the Chronicle in the wake of comments in the Supreme Court by Puisne Judge Karen Prescott, who said the sale of cocaine was “prevalent” in Gibraltar.

Mr Wink agreed with the judge and said that, while his officers and the courts were tackling the problem robustly, greater commitment was needed from the wider community in the fight against drugs.

Statistics from the Gibraltar Police Authority show that the police detection rate for drug offences is higher than ever before. More dealers are being sent to jail, often for very long stretches even for relatively small amounts.

“The courts are saturated with drug cases because of our enforcement activity,” Mr Wink said.

“If the sentences being handed down by the courts now are not a deterrent, then nothing is.”

“The word out on the streets now is that if you get caught with drugs in Gibraltar, you’re going down for a long time.”


The problem, however, is that for every person arrested selling drugs, another steps up to take his or her place. Deterrents apart, the drugs are still available on the street.

The RGP has law enforcement as its main priority and also help educate the community on the dangers of drugs, particularly youngsters.

“But I think people need to get more involved to create an environment where it is clearly evident that drugs are unacceptable to our community,” Mr Wink said.

For Mr Wink, that means a willingness to finger the bad guys.

“People need to get more involved in assisting the police to identify who the dealers are,” Mr Wink said. “We don’t know everything that goes on.”

Sitting next to Mr Wink during the interview were Chief Inspector Emilio Acris and the officer who heads the RGP’s Drug Squad and who, for obvious reasons, cannot be named.

Between the three of them, they provided a warts-and-all glimpse of the realities of a world that most people, thankfully, are rarely exposed to. But is a world that continues to attract and entrap a wide cross-section of local society.

Most if not all the cocaine consumed in Gibraltar is bought in Spain and comes in across the border. The drug is purchased in small amounts and detection can be hard. A small bag with 20 grams of cocaine could be stashed in any number of places in a car, for example.

The price of a gram of cocaine from a street dealer in Gibraltar is currently between £50 and £60, in line with the rest of Europe. The one thing that varies is the purity.

In general the cocaine consumed in Gibraltar is about 30% pure, the rest being a mix of glucose, bicarbonate of soda and other such substances used by dealers to bulk up their goods and increase their profits.

When people ‘snort a line of coke’, cocaine is just a small percentage of what is going up their nose.

“Most of the cutting is done in Spain,” the Drug Squad officer said.

“The effects of cocaine will last half an hour and there are some people who will take one, two, three grams a night.”

The problems associated to drug abuse are further exacerbated because people often mix their substances on a night out, consuming cocktails of Class A drugs like cocaine, soft drugs like cannabis, and very often alcohol too.

If anyone wants to see what the outcome of this can be when things go wrong, a visit to the Magistrates Court will suffice.

Drugs and alcohol fuel much, if not most of the low level crime on the streets of Gibraltar, particularly at the weekend.

On a daily basis, people appear before the Magistrate charged with offences committed while drunk or high on drugs, or both.


So who takes cocaine? According to these three seasoned officers, there is no obvious stereotype. It can range from courtroom regulars who spend much of their time as defendants in the dock, to white collar workers and “people you would be surprised at”.

The use of cocaine is particularly prevalent among people in their 20s and 30s, less so at a younger age.

“This is a different kettle of fish to offences of violence, where we’ve got the same people going in and out of court all of the time,” Mr Wink said.

“The use of drugs is becoming more widespread.”

“And it’s not just confined to an age group or a certain particular group of individuals.”

“It’s more widespread than that.”

The monthly consumption figure is the RGP’s best assessment of the scale of the problem, based on its own data and intelligence.

“That is what our analysis tells us, that Gibraltar might consume about two kilos of cocaine in a month,” Mr Wink said.

Although surprising at first glance, the figure is easily explained. If there are 500 people in Gibraltar who consume cocaine and each takes a gram at the weekend, then that amounts to two kilos a month. And according to the police, there are almost certainly more than 500 people who consume cocaine in Gibraltar, at least intermittently.

Not everyone who takes cocaine or other drugs is a hardcore user. Some of the stories shared by the three officers pointed to dabblers with a somewhat casual approach to drug taking.

“It is commonly known that during Christmas you get shopping lists in particular workplaces [placed by] people who don’t normally use drugs,” Mr Wink said by way of example.

“They give a shopping list to one individual who is responsible for supplying his work colleagues during that festive period.”

“We know that and we’ve detected a few of these cases.”


One effect of hitting dealers hard is that they are going further underground.

Whether enforcement and tough sentences are working in terms of cutting down the scale of the drug problem is difficult to assess but one thing is clear: catching dealers is becoming increasingly hard.

“Either people are not consuming drugs, or they are being more careful in how they do it,” Mr Wink said.

Dealers and users alike are changing the way they handle drugs. They stash them outside their homes and minimise the time they have the narcotics on their person.

“Often we now have to relay on DNA, fingerprints and other forensic techniques to link drugs to a person,” Mr Acris said.

“That’s what happens when you have a combination of strict enforcement and tough sentences.”

One of the challenges facing the authorities is that measuring the scale of the problem is very difficult because the only reliable indicator comes from police arrest figures and court data.

But those numbers, as Mr Wink points out, can be deceptive and misleading. If, for example, police arrest 100 dealers one year and 200 dealers the next, does it mean the problem is getting worse? Or does it mean that police are getting better at their job?

In Gibraltar, there is no publicly available data on drug use that excludes arrest and conviction data.

“We cannot underestimate the problem that we have,” Mr Wink said. “But we ourselves can make it worse in terms of perception.


So how do you go about catching a dealer? With difficulty, it appears.

There are no ‘big fish’ in Gibraltar of the sort seen on television. In this community, a person with 30 grams of cocaine in his pocket is a ‘big fish’.

“The difficulty we have in trying to catch these people is that their networks are so well established that to get into them is very, very difficult, especially in Gibraltar where everybody knows each other,” Mr Acris said.

“Criminals in general, but drug dealers in particular, have very good networks and unless you get referred, you won’t get anywhere near.”

The RGP has in the past carried out so-called ‘sting operations’, bringing in officers from outside Gibraltar to infiltrate particular criminal networks.

But apart from the fact that this is a labour-intensive, time-consuming and potentially dangerous process, the criminals have realised what was happening.

“We’ve done that so many times now that people have got wise to it,” Mr Wink said. “People will suss out anyone trying to come in and infiltrate them.”

These days, drug enforcement work is led by intelligence and good old detective work.

This is where the RGP could do with more help from the community. There is a sense among veteran officers that, unless they are personally touched by the scourge of drugs, most people would rather look away, even if for perfectly valid reasons.

Everybody knows that drugs destroy lives but most people, thankfully, never have to deal with this at first hand.

In practice though, it means many people do not engage sufficiently with the RGP to help them tackle the problem.

“People would rather keep away from getting involved,” Mr Wink said.

“They don’t like to snitch on other people, they don’t like to give evidence in court.”

“They fear perceived reprisals, which is understandable.”

“But we have a drugs hotline which is hardly used.”

“There is a crimes hotline where people can call in and give information anonymously, but people are hardly using that.”

Gibraltar’s small size and the high profile the police officers often get, especially after a few years on the job, further complicates the job of catching dealers.

Mr Wink said that young people enjoying a night out in Gibraltar would, as in other places in the developed world, be exposed to drugs at some point or other.

“When youth go out at night, they are exposed,” he said.

“They get offered drugs.”

“Those drugs are not going to be offered in the presence of a police officer [because] we are well known in Gibraltar.”

“But it will happen in the presence of other citizens.”

“That is where we want the community to help out and come forward to inform us.”

In reality though, the reverse often occurs. Rather than help police, people make their work even harder.

When they investigate possible drug distribution points – he would not name where, other than to say “certain estates” – Mr Wink said officers come up against “a wall of silence”.

But it is even worse than that. Past experience shows that when officers move in discreetly to mount surveillance operations, warnings are sent round the estates as soon as they are spotted.

“We are very often hampered by people in the community,” said Mr Wink.

“The people who need to be aware of the problem – the authorities and the law enforcement family - are indeed acutely aware.”

“But there needs to be more involvement from the community.”

“This is not only an enforcement issue.”

“It’s an issue that involves the whole of the community.”


Gibraltar owes a debt of gratitude to specialised police officers who make huge personal sacrifices to combat the sale of drugs in this community, Police Commissioner Louis Wink said this week.

Mr Wink was highlighting the difficult, demanding and often dangerous work carried out by this small group of detectives.

He was speaking during an interview in which he was joined by the head of the Drug Squad, who cannot be named for obvious reasons.

This core group of handpicked officers does the legwork needed to detect and arrest drug dealers in Gibraltar.

They work flexible hours – long shifts, inevitably – and can draw on the wider uniformed and plainclothes resources of the RGP whenever they need operational support.

“For me it’s the best job in the police,” the head of the Drug Squad said.

“It’s the thrill of getting these people who are committing these crimes that are affecting our youth.”

“It’s the fact that we can get them, that we are as good as them.”

“They’re trying to avoid us, but we get them.”

This small team of officers focuses solely on drug enforcement and it members are among the best detectives in the RGP.

They are dedicated to the task and willing to make huge personal sacrifices to get the job done.

This cannot be underplayed, and was illustrated two years ago when an officer’s property was set on fire while his family was inside the home. It was not the first time such a thing had happened.

“The perks of the trade for all police officers, but especially for Drug Squad officers,” Mr Wink said with irony, “are having their house burnt, having their families threatened, having their cars damaged, being assaulted and having constant attempts at intimation.”

“They overcome all that and they still get the job done.”

“I’m indebted to them, and Gibraltar is indebted to them.”

Gibraltar Government has unveiled a dramatic portfolio of residential and other property that passes to it following an agreement with the MOD.

Last Saturday, the Chief Minister Peter Caruana and the Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox signed the third Lands Agreement since 2004 between the Gibraltar Government and the Ministry of Defence.

Detailing the plans Chief Minister Peter Caruana said that this latest lands

agreement "benefits everyone and provides excellent opportunities to Gibraltar for the present and future".

He also emphasised that the MOD's continuing significant presence in Gibraltar is both politically and economically important.

Under this new Lands Agreement the MOD will transfer significantly more assets to GOG than GOG will reprovide for the MOD, No 6 said in a statement issued with a collection of photographs of the released buildings.

Government says that the underlying theme of this agreement is that MOD will be located within four sites within Gibraltar, namely, the Naval Base, the Airfield, Devil's Tower Camp and Four Corners and, with the exception of a handful of remote and specialist operational facilities, will vacate and transfer to Gibraltar Government all other sites and properties.


MOD will transfer 361 houses to GOG, and in return GOG will build 90 houses for MOD within Four Corners Estate. MOD will therefore transfer to Government all housing at Europa Point, the Trafalgar Heights Block in Europa Road, Europa Pass Battery, Buena Vista, Old Naval Hospital Road, Chilton Court and elsewhere.

Current Gibraltar Regiment families and other persons who presently live in Chilton Court and who would otherwise be eligible to be on the Government housing list will be allowed to remain as Government tenants of their Chilton Court flats even after they leave the Royal Gibraltar Regiment.

They will also be eligible to buy their flat under the Government's 'right to buy' scheme.

All vacant properties will be offered for sale to the public by tender, offering the opportunity for hundreds of local families to buy a home in some of the most attractive residential areas of Gibraltar. RGR personnel living in properties outside Chilton Court will also be eligible to purchase under the Government's 'right to buy' scheme.


Under the arrangement MOD will also transfer the following other non-residential proper-ties to GOG:

• Its remaining half of the

Detached Mole

• The Motor Transport and

Trailer Park complex near

the Naval Base

• The Europa Point Sports


• A Plot of land at Europa Flats

• St Christopher's School

buildings and associated land

• Europa Point Community

Centre and Squash Court


• Rosia Swimming Pool and

associated land

• Other industrial buildings

near the Naval base

• Gorham's Cave and

surrounding cliffs

• Chilton Court Community


• A 3 metre wide strip of

land at Four Corners along

the whole length of the land


• The Rooke Complex


The Government states that it will use the cash proceeds of the house sales to build 90 houses for the MOD and to reprovide some of the other

MOD facilities currently located within the above listed sites to Four Corners Camp, Devil's Tower Camp, the Naval Base or the RAF Station on the South Dispersal of the airfield.

Mr Caruana said that, importantly and firstly, the arrangement makes the MOD's Gibraltar operations more financially efficient and thus its continuing significant presence here more sustainable and assured in these times of stringent budget problems and heavy cutbacks elsewhere in the MOD.

"The MOD's continuing significant presence in Gibraltar is both politically and economically important. MOD jobs already enjoy the protection of the 2007 Global Agreement and that is not affected."

"Secondly", said Mr caruana, "it will provide home ownership opportunities for hundreds of families in property types that are not commonly available in Gibraltar."

"Thirdly, it provides the Government which much land and facilities that it can put to local public, economic, leisure and social use.

And fourthly, it allows Government to rezone the use of or regenerate significant

areas of Gibraltar for the future. As with other lands ageements since 2004, all properties now built by GOG to reprovide MOD housing or other facilities would revert to

GOG free of charge when they become surplus to MOD needs in the future."


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