Police conclude search of Starnet
Police have wrapped up several days of searching the offices of Starnet Communications in Vancouver. They entered the company offices and homes of some directors on Friday.
Police were looking for evidence of illegal gambling, distributing child pornography, and money laundering.
Since the raid, Starnet officials say police just don't understand their business.
The search warrant details 18 months of police investigation. It traces a network of companies registered in American and Caribbean jurisdictions.
The warrant also identifies Vancouver as the centre of Starnet's operations, even though this is a grey under Canadian law.
Police note that Starnet's revenues grew dramatically in the past two years, from betting and sex shows and from lucrative licensing agreements for its gaming software.
The investigations and pornography from company sites were grounds for Friday's raid and seizure of company materials.
RCMP Constable Peter Thiessen says investigators left Starnet offices yesterday morning. He says, "They spent the better part of three days going through the business. And as a result of that search the investigation is continuing, but no charges have been laid."
Starnet's many investors were spooked by the raid. Share prices dropped almost 70-percent on Friday. However, the company insists the raid had minimal effect on its operation. Stocks rose slightly yesterday after a day of very heavy trading.
In written statements, company CEO Mark Dohlen said the Wall Street Journal calls Starnet the leader in Internet gaming and entertainment. He says companies like his, those on the cutting edge, are often misunderstood.
Yesterday, Starnet announced it will sell off the sex side of its business. It plans to focus more resources on gaming.
The Police investigation is expected to last for several more months.