The Financial Times is reporting that Anurag Dikshit, co-founder and largest shareholder of PartyGaming, has arrived at a settlement with the US authorities, agreeing to pay $300 million and plead guilty to a charge relating to illegal web betting. Dikshit will appear in the Southern District Court of New York today to admit to an offense under the Wire Act and to agree to co-operate with the US Department of Justice, says the Times.
In a press release on its website, PartyGaming says that it, “cannot comment on the accuracy of the report in today’s Financial Times concerning developments involving Mr. Dikshit, but 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.”
The press release goes on to say that PartyGaming’s “discussions with the DoJ have made good progress and it is currently negotiating the final terms of a possible settlement with the DoJ. 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 says that based on discussions to-date, the company “expects any settlement with the DoJ to involve a payment by the Company of an amount that is significantly lower than that reported to be paid by Mr. Dikshit in today’s Financial Times. In addition, the Company believes that any such settlement is unlikely to include a criminal plea on the part of the Company or any director.”
The news that the PartyGaming is nearing a settlement removed some of the uncertainty hanging over the company, spurring shares in PartyGaming to rise 13.9% in afternoon trading. Other gambling companies negotiating with the Department of Justice also rose, with Sportingbet gaining 14.8% and 888 Holdings gaining 10.4%. Settlements will allow the companies to put liabilities stemming from dealings with US customers behind them and focus on consolidation and growth.