10/20/09 – Anurag Dikshit, the Indian computer technology professional who helped found online gambling group Party Gaming plc and in the process made a huge fortune, is to sell all but 38.8 million of his remaining shares in the company.
A statement from Dikshit's company Crystal Ventures Limited this week advises that the multi-millionaire is to offer 75 million of his remaining 113.8 million Party Gaming shares – 27.9 percent of the stock – to institutional investors.
Dikshit was, at age 25, a key member of the Party Gaming founder group that included Ruth Parasol and her husband Russ DeLeon. He created the initial software platform and benefitted from the company's success as it grew to one of the biggest online gambling groups in the industry, and eventually went public in 2005. That success translated into great wealth, with Fortune magazine at one time listing Dikshit as the 201st richest man in the world.
With the company's London listing, Dikshit became its largest individual shareholder, but sold off 23 percent of his stake to become a billionaire – one of the youngest in the world at that point.
However, that success included the stress of pressure from the United States Justice Department following Party Gaming's withdrawal from the US market in the wake of the UIGEA in 2006. In a controversial decision to relieve the fear of prosecution, Dikshit pleaded guilty to as an individual to a count of illegal gambling and agreed in December 2008 to forfeit $300 million.
More recently, Party Gaming itself settled with the DoJ in a $105 million "non-prosecution agreement" deal, putting to rest fears among the Gibraltar-based company's investors and lenders.
Now 36 years old, Dikshit lives in Gibraltar, has other business interests but remains a chess aficionado and student of antiquities.
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