, the billionaire Indian born co-founder and 27% owner of PartyGaming
, the company behind Party Poker
, has buckled under pressure from the US Department of Justice and agreed to plead guilty today in a New York court to online betting under the Wire
Act. He'll pay a $300 million settlement to the U.S. government, and because no plea deal was cut, A. Dikshit could still face a jail sentence, although that is unlikely as A. Dikshit has agreed to cooperate with US authorities in their ongoing investigation against owners of Internet gambling sites.
Many see A. Dikshit's settlement as throwing online poker under the bus as he hands the DoJ its first victory against the owner of an online poker site when, in our expert legal analysis of the matter, they'd likely fail if the case went to trial under the Wire Act.
The squeaky clean Dikshit, at least compared to his PartyGaming porn biz partner Ruth Parasol
, who is not settling with the US, is seen as caving in to the pressure from the DoJ the past two years because of constant fear of prosecution and to put his US woes behind him. And because he can afford it. The 300 mil is just a drop in the bucket to A. Dikshit, whose net worth is estimated in the $3 billion range.
Following in his footsteps is PartyGaming itself, which is in discussions right now with the DoJ. According to a PartyGaming spokesman today:
"The company's discussions with the Department of
Justice have made good progress and it is currently negotiating the
final terms of a possible settlement. On the basis of the
discussions to-date, PartyGaming expects any settlement with the
Department of Justice to involve a payment by the company of an amount
that is significantly lower than that reported to be paid by Mr
Dikshit. 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."
Both settlements are seen as good news for shareholders in PartyGaming as the company looks to put the threat of prosecution from its once lucrative US business behind it. Shares in PartyGaming jumped 13.9% in London today in response to the news.
Read more about A. Dikshit's settlement on the so-called Internet here