Online betting firms may be struck off
Two Irish businesses facing legal action in the US for breaches of commodity trading regulations could be dissolved and struck off the Republic’s companies’ register for failing to comply with the law here.
The US Commodities Futures Trading Commission last week filed a series of civil charges against online betting company Intrade and its parent, Trade Exchange Networks, for allowing US customers to wager on such things as commodity prices, stock market indices and world events.
The commission’s move forced the Dublin-based business, whose shareholders include leading figures from Wall Street hedge funds, to close its Intrade.comwebsite to US clients and ask them to terminate their accounts. It has since announced plans for a new model that will be legal in “all jurisdictions – including the US”.
The Companies’ Registration Office has also listed both entities for strike-off here, a move the registrar normally takes when businesses fail to file annual returns on time.
If a company is struck off, shareholders risk being held personally responsible for liabilities, as the firm loses the limited liability protection but still has to pay its debts in the normal way. Intrade’s parent, Trade Exchange Network’s shareholders include a number of leading US hedge funds and their owners, according to its 2010 returns.
Stanley Druckenmiller, the trader who masterminded the George Soros-owned Quantum Capital’s short-selling of sterling in 1992, is listed as owning 1,700 shares. Another hedge fund player, Paul Tudor Jones, is listed as owning 4,250 shares. Mr Tudor Jones famously forecast 1987’s Black Monday crash and tripled his fund’s profits by large-scale short-selling.