According to Reuters.com, Antigua and Barbuda officials accused the U.S. on Wednesday of violating international trade law with the indictment of the alleged operators of three offshore-based Internet poker companies and the domain seizures.
Both Antigua and Barbuda license Internet gambling companies.
The Caribbean nation’s finance minister, Harold Lovell, issued a statement saying:
“I am concerned that at this point in time United States authorities continue to prosecute nondomestic suppliers of remote gaming services in clear contravention of international law,” Lovell said.
Basically Antigua is saying the US is protecting its own gambling industry by cracking down on non-US gambling companies thereby engaging in protectionism.
Lovell went on to say:
“I am not aware of any other situation where a member of the World Trade Organization has subjected persons to criminal prosecution under circumstances where the WTO has expressly ruled that to do so is in breach of an International treaty”
Mark Mendel, the Caribbean government’s legal advisor, told Reuters:
“I don’t think there’s another country in the world that puts people in jail for engaging in trade that’s lawful under international law, by telephone on Thursday. “It’s as if Antigua would put Americans in jail for selling pineapples.”
One of the companies subject to the domain name seizure and law enforcement action Absolute Poker, is licensed in Antigua.