by Renee Israel
Party Gaming, which forms part of the recently merged London-listed online
gambling group, Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, has been named in an
indictment against Megaupload.com, the Hong Kong based file hosting group.
The United States Department of Justice showed in its 72 page indictment that
Party Gaming has paid over $3 million to advertise its poker websites on
Megaupload.com since it first entered into a contract with the group in 2009.
In response, Bwin.Party cut all ties with Megaupload.com immediately
by terminating its advertising contract with the firm, as soon as it found out
that the site had been closed as a result of a court order late last week.
Speaking about the move, Bwin.Party's director of communications, John
Shepherd confirmed: "We had no knowledge about any of the alleged activities
undertaken by Megaupload"
The DOJ indictment read: "PartyGaming's advertising contract with the members
of the Mega Conspiracy [the name given by the DOJ to Megaupload.com] was
initiated on or about November 12, 2009 and has resulted in payments of more
than $3,000,000 to the Conspiracy. This contract was still active as recently as
on or about March 18, 2011."
Bwin.Party is not denying that it has paid millions to market its poker
services on the file hosting site, but is insisting that it was guaranteed that
Megaupload.com did not host pirated material.
"Our contract with them states that the content of the vendor websites do not
infringe the Intellectual Property Rights of any third party," said Shepherd,
after breaking the news of Bwin.Party terminating its Megaupload.com links.
Bwin.Party Insists it is an Innocent Party
Bwin.Party is insisting that it is an innocent party in the entire case
against Megaupload.com, and has said that it is unsure as to why it was singled
out amongst all the other advertisers on the site, to be named in the
"We're a completely innocent party," said Shepherd. "They [the US
authorities] have obviously put the details of our contract in the indictment to
help make their case about the amount of money that was going through
The DOJ has charged seven men linked to Megaupload.com with an array of
offences from copyright infringement to money laundering. It is the contention
of US authorities that the 'Mega Conspiracy' made over $175 million in illegal
profits. Megaupload.com regularly boasted that it received over 50 million
visitors per day.
The group's founder, Kim Dotcom was arrested in New Zealand after police
raided his luxury home, and he is currently awaiting extradition to the United