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Betonsports Close To Settlement With DoJ

by Glen Shapiro,, New York

19 October 2006

Antigua-based, London-listed Betonsports Plc told Judge Carol Jackson in her St Louis court-room on Monday that the firm had reached agreement with the Department of Justice in its civil suit against the company, U.S. v. Betonsports Plc., 06cv1064, in the Eastern District of Missouri.

The judge gave the parties a further week to complete the agreement and submit it to her. DoJ attorney Michael Fagan told the judge: "My impression is there are no substantive disagreements." Betonsports attorney Jeffrey Demerath said that time was needed to assemble the company's board in order to approve the terms of the agreement, which were not disclosed. It was understood, however, that the agreement would include repayment of some US clients.

Betonsports and 12 individuals were indicted June 1st by a federal grand jury. Charges include racketeering, mail fraud and facilitation of gambling across state and national boundaries. Trading of Betonsports stock in London was suspended on July 18th at the company's request. The company ran its US Internet business from Costa Rica and Antigua.

Founder Gary Kaplan and British CEO David Carruthers were among those indicted. Carruthers, 48, was arrested in July as he changed planes in a Dallas airport. At a hearing in August, Carruthers pleaded not guilty to the charges of fraud and racketeering in St Louis. Under the terms of a bail agreement negotiated between defense lawyers and prosecutors, Carruthers was bailed under a $1 million bond and is under house arrest in the vicinity of St Louis. An arrest warrant has been issued for Gary Kaplan. The indictments seek forfeiture of $4.5 billion from Kaplan and the other defendants.

A number of other UK-listed companies have said that they were ceasing US operations in light of the law passed in the Congress last month which effectively bans them from taking US bets; the law was signed by the President last Friday. The DoJ says that in 2003, Betonsports web site had 100,000 active players who placed 33 million wagers worth more than $1.6 billion. It is supposed that a total of more than $4bn was wagered on web-sites by Americans last year.

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