Anurag Dikshit, one of the founders of gaming giant Party Poker, was recently sentenced to a maximum of two years imprisonment at his trial in a New York court. Dikshit faced this sentence because he pleaded guilty in 2008 to violating the internet gambling charges under the Federal Wire Act, which was the law in existence before the UIGEA was introduced. Dikshit, who lives in Gibraltar was accused of playing a role in Party Gaming’s violating these laws. However, fortunately for him, he has managed to evade his sentence and get it lessened when he entered a plea deal with the authorities and “agreed to cooperate in an ongoing investigation with Federal prosecutors.” As per this deal, he is now willing to forfeit 300 million. Currently, Anurag Dikshit faces one year of probation.
However, it is extremely strange to note that although the Party Poker was founded by three people, namely Russell DeLeon, Ruth Parasol DeLeon and Anurag Dikshit, it is only Dikshit who is facing the rap. The Dikshit case has the gambling community wondering why Dikshit has been forced to pay 300 million, face a year of probation while the other two founders are enjoying their freedom unquestioned. This issue was raised by the Judge Jed Rakoff, who questioned the prosecutors as to why they were targeting Anurag Dikshit who is an Indian by nationality and leaving out the other two founders, who were guilty of the same crime. Judge Rakoff asked the government attorneys why “Nobody else has been indicted. It has been two years since this defendant began cooperating, what’s going on?” Judge Jed Rakoff did not find the sentence of two years imprisonment appropriate for Anurag Dikshit and stated, “I am persuaded that no jail time is appropriate here.”
And while Anurag Dikshit has sold his shares, paid out 300 million and is about to serve probation, the only flak that the DeLeons are facing is the prospect of liquidating their positions if they prevent the merger from taking place or stop the company from “getting a license or completing a suitability review.”
Meanwhile, the poker community is having mixed reactions to Dikshit’s sentence. Forbes featured an article on the subject and said: “It certainly would have been strange for Dikshit to wind up in jail even as other online poker entrepreneurs were not being prosecuted. Some of the most prominent are not even offshore, like the men widely believed to be behind Full Tilt Poker, the second biggest company servicing U.S. play, poker champions Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer.”

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