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Monday, March 26th, 2007

Neteller Adds Canada, Turkey To Ban List

BY TOM SOMACH

NETeller, the Internet money-transferring service which earlier this year banned U.S. citizens from using it to send and receive funds from Internet gambling sites, has extended the ban to include Canada and Turkey.

A news release just posted on the company website, www.neteller-group.com, states in part: “(NETeller) today announced several significant changes to its services in a number of markets…Recent actions by regulators, payment processors and online gaming operators have increased the uncertainty around certain activities related to online gambling in some jurisdictions. The board of directors of the company reached a decision on March 25, 2007, that the risk to (NETeller’s) ongoing business in Canada and Turkey has increased in the light of such developments.

“The board has therefore concluded that (NETeller) will no longer process transfers related to online gambling sites on behalf of Canada or Turkey resident customers…(NETeller) will cease processing online gambling related transactions for Canada-resident (on) April 9, 2007…As of March 26, 2007, Canada-resident customers were no longer able to deposit funds using NETeller;s instaCASH service, either directly or from any online gambling site…

“Canada-resident customers will continue to be able to use their e-wallet accounts for non-gambling transactions, including peer-to-peer and pre-paid debit transactions…Customer funds, including those of Canadian residents, are held in a pooled, segregated trust account and will be available for withdrawal by customers, on demand. Canadian customers continue to be able to use their e-wallet accounts for non-gambling transactions.

“In light of recent legislation passed in Turkey on February 28, 2007, which prohibits certain forms of online gambling to be offered by any ‘unauthorized’ domestic or foreign company to citizens in Turkey, NETeller has decided to implement a voluntary phased withdrawal of the payment services related to online gambling that it offers customers to the Turkish market…

“(NETeller) has ceased processing online gambling related transactions for Turkey-resident customers (on) March 26, 2007…Turkey-resident customers will be able to continue to use their NETeller e-wallet account for any non-gambling related money transfers and withdrawals. Customers located in other parts of the world are not affected by this change, and NETeller continues to service these customers in the normal manner.”

The announcement by U.K.-based NETeller appears to be a pre-emptive strike against any further criminal prosecution from foreign governments.

Earlier this year, NETeller’s two Canadian founders were arrested by Federal authorities in the U.S. and charged with money laundering and facilitating online gambling.

Shortly thereafter, NETeller announced U.S. residents could no longer use it in connection with online gambling.

The move caused the e-wallet to lose about 80% of its total business and make massive layoffs of personnel.

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected])

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