US investigators eye City in online gambling probe

City agencies could be asked to send information to the US Department of Justice as part of an investigation into online gambling.

Sources monitoring the investigation said requesting information from agencies associated with British-based online gambling firms was a ‘logical step’ in the search for evidence against the web betting industry.

In the past week, the US Department of Justice has handed subpoenas to British bankers, requesting emails, telephone records and documents. It is believed to be looking to build a case against companies that have profited from online gambling following the effective banning of the industry last October, when legislation came into force.

‘I cannot see how agencies will not get caught up in this in one way or another,’ said one City PR source. ‘Individuals’ names will appear on official documents relating to deals [in which British online gambling firms have been involved].’

A case against any UK-based agency or individual is unlikely, but one consultant who has worked with an online gambling firm said he would not be travelling to New York in the near future.

Others have scotched the notion that investigators will come knocking.

‘The types of financial responsibility that an agency and bank have are two very different things,’ said one senior agency contact who has worked with an online gambling firm. ‘I would class it as extremely unlikely we’ll be asked for information.’

Bell Pottinger Corporate & Financial, Citigate Dewe Rogerson, Financial Dyn­amics and Smithfield work with high-profile British-based online gambling firms.

The Southern District Court of New York refused to comment on the ongoing investigation.

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