Neteller Frozen Funds Thawed

Published August 15, 2007 by OCR Editor

Neteller Frozen Funds Thawed

After months of being held as potential evidence in the trial against Neteller co-founders, funds that have been frozen by the investigators are released and returned to their account holders.

Former Neteller customers have received emails over the past days inviting them to log on to their Neteller accounts and withdraw money from their positive accounts, which were frozen in January, at the time the probe against its co-founders began. This they did. So far, $70 million has been withdrawn.

Throughout the federal investigation, for several months, until just recently, the US has tied up the funds in about 250,000 accounts. A deal reached with the US Attorney's office in Manhattan has allowed for the good news to reach customers and the money to be released from the hold.

Neteller was the largest payment methods and solutions company at the time in the US and perhaps in the world. PayPal, operated by Ebay, was not a competitor in the online casino business, not since pulling out of it in 2003, and so it was mainly Neteller's domain. Arresting its co-founders and freezing its activity as part of the ban on online gambling in the US sent a shockwave throughout the industry. Neteller, PayPal and other payment method providers are active in other countries, over 150 of them, where online gambling is legal.

The funds were held as potential evidence, so the FBI explained. Releasing it was compared by some of the costumers as winning the jackpot. The total amount of funds caught in the crossfire is estimated at 136 million dollars. This is sum that Neteller is required to forfeit. A large part of it belongs to American account holders, at 94 million dollars. Of course they must also admit violating the US law against online gambling.

On a video aired on YouTube, Neteller CEO Ron Martin stated that the company's top priority is to return funds to US customers. This is offered in one of two ways - through an electronic transfer to a bank account or by check. Most have opted for the former, a process that takes only about a day to complete. They are also asked to sign a waiver release, agreeing with Neteller not to sure each other. Customers have until late January to withdraw their sums.

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