One of PartyGaming‘s founding employees, the unfortunately named Anurag Dikshit (pronounced ‘dick-shit’), has received one-year probation from the U.S. government, even though he lives in India and has never been an American citizen, for pleading guilty in 2008 to violating the 1961 Wire Act, even though he didn’t violate it, after paying the Fed $300M for doing so, even though nobody had asked him to.
Dikshit, 39, flew to New York on a one-way ticket, expecting jail time for his role in…well…we’re not too sure. The company he
completely sold-out helped launch, PartyGaming, had settled with the Government for $150M, in hopes, we suspect, to clear them for getting a license from the DoJ once online poker became regulated by the U.S. government (which will likely still not happen, as Party operated a payment processor, a big huge no-no in the eyes of the DoJ and something Stars and Tilt have avoided). But Dikshit himself was never in threat of extradition for anything he had done while at the company.
Making this Dikshit case even more clusterfuckable, it seems like even the prosecutors aren’t too sure what’s going on with Dikshit, his sentencing, or the online poker industry in general. From a Forbes blog article:
At Thursday’s hearing Judge Rakoff challenged a government prosecutor wondering why there have been no other prosecutions, specifically mentioning Dikshit’s fellow PartyGaming cofounders, Americans Ruth Parasol DeLeon and her husband Russell DeLeon. “Nobody else has been indicted,” said Judge Rakoff. “It has been two years since this defendant began cooperating, what’s going on?”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Arlo Devlin-Brown said that the investigation that involved Dikshit remains ongoing, pointing to sealed papers the government filed with the court. “There are challenges in this prosecution,” said Devlin-Brown, adding that Dikshit had asked to settle the case at its very early stages. “It has been two years and there are reasons.”
Indeed, even Mark Pomerantz, Dikshit’s lawyer, said during the hearing that he and his colleagues had discussed the confusing circumstances surrounding the case “hundreds of times.” In arguing for no jail time, Pomerantz highlighted Dikshit’s $300 million payment and said Dikshit, who is a citizen of India with no ties to the U.S., had originally been told by some lawyers that it was unlikely he would be charged, and even if he was charged the chances of extradition were slim. “The acceptance of responsibility is extraordinary,” said Pomerantz. “He wanted to square his accounts with the U.S.”
Not that we haven’t hit on these points before, but Dikshit voluntarily pled guilty something he didn’t need to plead guilty to, setting up a dangerous precedent for an industry that is making a very legitimate case that it is, in fact, legit. And he paid $300M in the process of doing so.
Which is double what PartyGaming themselves paid.
[banging our heads against desks]
Just read the whole Forbes article here and get frustrated.