PartyGaming co-founder pleads guilty to offering illegal Internet gambling services

17 December 2008

A co-founder of PartyGaming pled guilty on Tuesday in New York to violating the Wire Act in connection with offering illegal Internet gambling services to U.S. residents.

The guilty plea by Anurag Dikshit, a native of India who was listed at No. 207 on the list of the world's billionaires in Forbes magazine, means the 37-year-old has waived his right to indictment by a grand jury, according to IGaming News.

As part of the plea, Dikshit agreed to cooperate with the U.S. Department of Justice and forfeit a total of $300 million. A reported $100 million of that amount has already been paid. Dikshit will pay another $100 million in three months with the final installment due next September. Dikshit was released on $15 million personal recognizance bail, but he faces up to two years in prison.

Judge Jed S. Rakoff said in court that he would take into consideration all that Dikshit has done for the court at the time of sentencing, which is not scheduled until Dec. 16, 2010, according to IGaming News.

When news first surfaced earlier this week that Dikshit would be pleading guilty, PartyGaming issued a press release on its Web site that stated, "the Company initiated discussions with the [U.S. Department of Justice] with the aim of removing any uncertainty regarding the Company's legal status in the United States in respect of the period prior to the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act on 13 October 2006."

The statement went on to say that the company could not comment on the "developments involving Mr. Dikshit" but that "any such developments are completely independent from those of the Company and as such should not be seen as bearing any guidance to the nature of the Company's own discussions."

As of Wednesday afternoon, PartyGaming had not released a statement regarding Dikshit's guilty plea.

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