Citadel Commerce Buys
Out to Avoid U.S. Prosecution
by Mira Patel, News Staff Writer
June 6, 2008
Either the U.S. is doing all they can to salvage
badly needed revenue that will inevitably be paid out to
an increasing number of WTO member countries seeking
free trade recompense as a result of the passing of the
UIGEA or U.S. officials truly are serious about trying
to enforce a prohibition on payment processing companies
helping U.S. citizens transfer funds for online gambling
activities? Well, it's likely the answer is both.
First, allow me to catch you up on the most recent
U.S. prosecution, which apparently fell under the radar.
Unlike the Neteller case, in which the Neteller's two
former founders were arrested and brought before a
Judge, third party payment processor, Citadel Commerce,
has simply been in talks with U.S. prosecutors to settle
a fine agreement for knowingly processing "illegal"
online gambling transactions.
Along with Neteller, Citadel was one of the top
online casino and poker room eWallets in business before
the passing of the UIGEA, having processed over $2
billion in the years spanning 2003-2007. Well, even
after the passing of the UIGEA, Citadel remained doing
business with U.S. customers. It wasn't until Neteller
was taken down that Citadel got the warning and stopped
handling U.S. transactions. However, U.S. officials are
using their bullying tactics to claim they always had
laws in place that made Citadel's services illegal.
In fact, U.S. prosecutors even got ESI Entertainment
Systems Inc. (the company that owns Citadel Commerce) to
admit to engaging in criminal wrongdoing and knowingly
violating U.S. gambling laws. ESI has also agreed to
cough up $9.1 million to avoid prosecution on conspiracy
charges (far better than the $136 million Neteller was
forced to pay).
The most interesting aspect of the agreement is that
Citadel must agree to cease from further wrongdoing for
the next eighteen months. Perhaps that is a sign of a
possible timeframe in which online gambling regulatory
legislation may be enacted? Let's hope so.