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Illinois Governor’s Former Finance Chairman Ordered Gambling Counseling

A former close friend of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich plead not guilty to charges revolving around his alleged gambling problem. The man, Christopher Kelly, is a former employee of Blagojevich’s.

Kelly was indicted on December 13th on charges of concealing over $1 million in income. Police say he used that money to pay off gambling debts that were owed to bookies. He allegedly bet on football, basketball, baseball, and horse racing.

He is also being charged with illegally structuring monetary transactions, filing false income and corporate tax returns, and obstructing the IRS.

“Chris Kelly is my friend. I am saddened to hear these allegations about Chris’s personal life…In fairness to Chris, I believe it is important to let the legal process play out and not rush to judgement,” Gov. Blagojevich said in a statement.

Between 2000 and 2005, the U.S, Attorney’s office claims that Kelly understated his income by $1.3 million. At the time, Kelly was president of two companies based in Markham, CGK Consulting, and BCI Commercial Roofing.

Kelly has been ordered to undergo counseling for his gambling addiction.

US Piracy Laws Need Not Be Followed in Antigua, Says WTO Panel

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In a conference call held midday on Friday the successful Antigua lawyer, Mark Mendel, pointed out that Antigua cannot be vilified by the United States government as criminals as they will not actually be breaking copyright and piracy laws.

The WTO ruled that Antigua may meet the sanctions, worth $21 million per year, by selling American company copyrighted materials, such as music, video, and software, legally. Mendel said that Antigua should not be looked upon as a criminal and as a violator of these laws because Antigua was legally granted access to sell the material by the WTO.

Mendel insisted that Antigua was not aiming for this judgement, rather, they simply would like for the US to follow the rules of the WTO by allowing Antiguan gaming operators to offer horse race betting to Americans, just as American gaming operators are currently allowed to do. Until they do meet the legalities of the WTO rulings it will be legal to sell copyrighted materials, Mendel said.

The likelihood of the US ever meeting all its obligations it must meet after removing its commitments to the GATS are minimal because Antigua will most likely never settle.

Although the online gambling industry has seen the $21 million ruling as a setback, Mendel pointed out that this includes 2006, combined with 2007, and will continue every year. After a few years the sanctions will add up to hundreds of millions of dollars.

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