Update on the Neteller Arrests

by Lou on January 17, 2007

Here’s what we know today that we didn’t know yesterday in the story about Stephen Lawrence and John Lefebvre (pictured right), founders of Neteller, the UK-listed online payments company, who were charged with conspiracy in connection with internet gambling.

The pair were arrested Monday following an FBI sting operation. Lawrence, 46, who lives on Paradise Island in The Bahamas, was arrested in the United States Virgin Islands. Lefebvre, 55, was arrested at the same time in Malibu, California.

If found guilty, the pair face up to 20 years in jail.

A seven-page indictment claims Lawrence and Lefebvre set up Neteller in 1999 to provide online payment services to gambling companies. It also claims that between 2000 and 2003 Neteller Inc. offered payment services to various internet gambling companies so that they could access customers in the United States. From 2004 to the present day, the same operation was conducted by Neteller plc, an Isle of Man-based company which in April 2004 raised some $70 million when they became a publicly traded company.

Neteller said that the founders were no longer employees or directors of the company, with Lawrence resiging on October 13 and Lefebvre leaving on December 15, 2005. However, Lawrence holds 5.91 per cent of the company, while Lefebvre owns 5.54 per cent.

Neteller supports 3 million customers in 160 countries and over $7 billion in annual transactions.

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