Online gambling tycoon Dikshit pleads guilty to wire fraud

December 18th, 2008 - 1:19 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Dec 18 (IANS) Online gambling tycoon Anurag Dikshit has pleaded guilty to violating the American federal wire act and has agreed to forfeit $300 million.Co-founder of PartyGaming, Dikshit is worth $1.6 billion, according to Forbes. One of the richest Indians, he is based in Gibraltar, Britain.

Dikshit, 37, travelled to New York this week to appear in a court here related to the allegations of wire fraud.

“I came to believe it was in fact illegal under the US law,” said Dikshit in his appearance before the US Court. “I have taken full responsibility for my actions.”

The Department of Justice said Dikshit pleaded guilty before the New York court to charges that he used the wires to transmit interstate and foreign commerce bets and wagering information.

Dikshit now faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offence.

He also admitted to allegations requiring him to forfeit $300 million, and agreed with the government to pay it in three instalments.

From 1997 to 2006, PartyGaming, a Gibraltar corporation, operated an Internet gambling business which offered casino and poker games, among other games of chance, to customers who wished to gamble online.

During that time a substantial majority of PartyGaming’s online gambling customers - who accounted for approximately 85 percent of PartyGaming’s revenue in 2005 - were located in the US.

The Department of Justice said Dikshit developed a proprietary software platform for PartyGaming and directed PartyGaming’s computer operations from 1998 to 2006. From 1999 to October 2006, Dikshit was a principal shareholder of PartyGaming and, at various times, served as a PartyGaming corporate officer and director.

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