Although Starnet still hasn't regained control of its frozen bank accounts, the end to the company's long legal nightmare may be in sight. The legal problems first began back in August 1999 when Starnet's corporate offices were raided, along with several company officials' homes, on suspicions that the company was involved in illegal gambling, child pornography and money laundering.
As part of that raid, documents and computer records were seized from 107 computers, 56 computers were taken and officials also took more than 80,000 pages of documents (either taken during the raid or downloaded from computers). Plus, two bank accounts containing more than $6 million were frozen pending the investigation's outcome.
Then on August 11, 2000 the Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia filed an affidavit before the state Supreme Court requesting a deadline extension to keep most of the seized items until February 2001 due to the complexity and amount of research required. That extension was approved.
On February 15,2001 the Crown was granted yet another extension, this time until June 17, after it received 51 binders of material from the OCA, according to Starnet spokesman Rob Gracen. The Crown needed time to sort through the material, after receiving the influx of information very recently, he explained.
"Starnet didn't oppose the move," Gracen said, "because we don't want charges filed, if they haven't read all of the information."
After the Crown finishes wading through the reams of material, several outcomes are likely, including charges being pressed against Starnet or a settlement worked out between the corporation and the government.
"Our ultimate goal is some kind of negotiated settlement," Gracen added.