NETeller to make final payment to U.S.

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NETeller released a trading update this week that included an announcement that the company will make its final $38.25 million payment to U.S. authorities on Jan. 16.

The payment is part of its obligations under the deferred prosecution agreement the company entered into with the United States last year. The company, along with its founders, was facing prosecution for promoting illegal online gambling by allowing U.S. customers to make online gambling transactions on the site.

Per the deferred prosecution agreement, NETeller was required to pay U.S. authorities $136 million.

As part of the arrangements with the U.S. Attorney's Office, NETeller implemented a distribution plan to return approximately $94 million of funds owed to U.S. customers that had been frozen while the case was being worked out.

"The Group has to date repaid approximately $81 million of this amount," said NETeller in a press release. "Any unpaid amounts are currently held in trust accounts with the Group's bank. Under the terms of the distribution plan, U.S. customers have until Jan. 26, 2008 to withdraw their funds using the NETeller Web site."

The trading update also included news that NETeller Group's planned sale of its principal Calgary property has been delayed. Lenders for the intended purchaser introduced significantly less attractive terms in the wake of the recent developments in North American financial markets, and though talks are continuing, there can be no certainty that the transaction will be concluded.

"However, the Group is optimistic about achieving a sale in due course given the current strength of the Calgary property market," the company said.

NETeller is also looking optimistically to the New Year.

"Considering the significant challenges that our Company has faced during the past year, I am pleased with the performance of the business in 2007, and I am excited about the prospects for 2008," said Ron Martin, president & CEO.

"We have a number of key strategic initiatives which will be launched in 2008, commencing this week with the rebranding of our consumer-facing site, These developments represent a step change in the products and services we can offer our merchants and customers. I am confident about our strategy and that these initiatives will be reflected in our performance for 2008."

During 2008, NETeller plans to deliver a number of initiatives in support of its strategic goal of providing innovative payment solutions for online communities. Those initiatives include:

A revitalized consumer brand: NETeller has updated its payment network brand for consumers, creating a new brand platform for the release of new consumer services throughout the year.

A stronger consumer offer: NETeller will introduce significant enhancements to its consumer services, including a new suite of highly secure and convenient card products, a new rewards program and new payment options during the first-half of 2008.

An enhanced merchant value proposition: During the first quarter, details of a new suite of e-commerce applications will be announced for gaming and non-gaming merchants. The suite has already been deployed to a limited number of merchants.

An update to merchant branding: Along with the new payment suite, NETeller will be revising its merchant facing brands.

More initiatives will be announced through 2008 as they are rolled out. NETeller's next update will be its preliminary results for 2007, expected to come out March 11.

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