13th of March 2013 Author: Glo Wood
This week, the Ireland-based online prediction betting company InTrade has shut down its website, informing its bettors with a statement on the website:
"With sincere regret we must inform you that due to circumstances recently discovered we must immediately cease trading activity on intrade (.com).
"These circumstances require immediate further investigation, and may include financial irregularities which in accordance with Irish law oblige the directors to take the following actions:
* Cease exchange trading on the website immediately.
* Settle all open positions and calculate the settled account value of all member accounts immediately.
* Cease all banking transactions for all existing company accounts immediately.
"During the upcoming weeks, we will investigate these circumstances further and determine the necessary course of action.
"To mitigate any further risk to members' accounts, we have closed and settled all open contracts at fair market value as of the close of business on March 10, 2013, in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of our customers' use of the website. You may view your account details and settled account balances by logging into the website.
"At this time and until further notice, it is not possible to make any payments to members in accordance with their settled account balance until the investigations have concluded.
"The Company will continue the maintenance and technology operations of the exchange system so that all information is preserved properly.
"We are not able to provide telephone support or live help services at this time, please contact the company by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org"
In terms of the cited "financial irregularities", it has been reported that they may be difficult to investigate and figure out because its founder, and the subject of some of the financial questions, John Delaney, died almost two years ago whilst trying to conquer Mount Everest.
Apparently, before it was shut down, the firm's auditors had flagged some questionable financial payments to the now-deceased founder in total amount of $2.6 million.
Also, auditors noted that Intrade's financial records filed in Ireland indicated that there had been insufficient financial recording over the year 2011, and that payments made to Delaney and other, unnamed, "third parties" had not been properly documented.
They also reported that $1.2 million in 2010, and another $1.4 million in the following year had been paid to Delaney's accounts without correct documentation and recording; and since current directors of the company had all been appointed after the payments, they have not been able to clarify the payments.
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