Online gambling tycoon nailed by DoJ

Anurag DikshitAnurag Dikshit, co-founder of the UK-listed PartyGaming has agreed to a plea bargain with the US Department of Justice yesterday for having violated the internet betting law in the US where he has agreed to forfeit $300 million although he could still face a two year prison term and a fine of $250,000.

PartyGaming is among the world's leading listed online gaming business. The group offers a variety of games through an integrated 'Party'-branded platform and through a number of secondary brands and alliances with other companies.

The reclusive billionaire, holding Indian citizenship had co-founded the Gibralter-based online gambling site, PartyGaming, pleaded guilty before a district judge in Manhattan to one count under the US1961 Wire Act for using online communications to transmit bets and wagering information in interstate commerce and agreed to forfeit $300 million to the US Justice Department.

According to the deal hammered out with the US Department of Justice, Dikshit agreed to forfeit $300 million in three installments, of which he has already paid the first installment of $100 million and the second installment is to be paid in three months, with the third to be paid in September, 2009.

In what appears to be the biggest sum paid for violating online gambling laws in the US, Dikshit could still undergo a prison term of two years, with the highest fine paid so far was $100 million by Stephen Lawrence, co-founder of NETeller, an online gambling company.

"Whilst these discussions are at an advanced stage, the terms of any settlement have not yet been finalised and there can be no guarantee that an agreement will be reached between the Company and the DoJ," PartyGaming said on its website.